The Info List - Tonkin (French Protectorate)

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Tonkin, or Bac Kỳ (北圻), was a French protectorate encompassing modern Northern Vietnam.


1 Establishment 2 Administration 3 End 4 Gallery 5 See also 6 Notes 7 External links

Establishment[edit] See also: Tonkin
campaign, Sino-French war, Treaty of Huế (1883), Treaty of Huế (1884), Treaty of Tientsin (1885), and Pacification of Tonkin After helping to unify Vietnam
under the Nguyen Dynasty, the French Navy began its heavy presence in the Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta
and later colonized the southern third of Vietnam
including Saigon
in 1867. Central Vietnam
later became the French protectorate of Annam and French influence in the Indochina Peninsula strengthened. During the Sino-French War
Sino-French War
(1884–1885), the northernmost part of Vietnam, Tonkin
(then considered a crucial foothold in Southeast Asia and a key to the Chinese market) was invaded by the French. After the treaty of Tientsin, all of Vietnam
was governed by the French. During the French colonial administration, Vietnam
was administratively divided into three different territories: Tonkin
(in the north), Annam (in the center), and the colony of Cochinchina
(in the south). These territories were fairly arbitrary in their geographic extent as the vast majority of the Vietnamese regarded their country as a single land and minor resistance to French rule continued over the next 70 years to achieve an independent state. Annam and Tonkin
were originally a single entity, the Résidence supérieure of Annam-Tonkin. On June 3, 1886, the Nguyễn Emperor Đồng Khánh
Đồng Khánh
delegated all of his powers in Tonkin
to a Kinh luoc su (equivalent of Viceroy), who acted under French supervision. On May 9, 1889, the Résidence supérieure of Annam- Tonkin
was abolished, with Annam and Tonkin
being separated in two Résidences supérieures, each subordinated to the Governor-General of French Indochina. On July 26, 1897, Governor-General Paul Doumer
Paul Doumer
had Emperor Thành Thái
Thành Thái
abolish the post of Kinh luoc su. Also the Nguyễn dynasty
Nguyễn dynasty
still nominally reigned over Tonkin, it was now de facto under direct French rule.[1] During French rule, Hanoi
was made capital of Tonkin
and, in 1901, of the whole French Indochina. Cities in Tonkin
saw significant infrastructure and economic development under the French, such as the development of the port of Haiphong
and construction of the Trans-Indochinois Railway linking Hanoi
to Saigon. Under French economic plans, mines yielding gold, silver, and tin as well as the farming of rice, corn, and tea powered Tonkin's economy. The imports included rice, iron goods, flour, wine, opium and cotton goods. Industrialization later led to the opening of factories producing textiles and china for export throughout the French Empire. French cultural influence on Tonkin
was also significant as French became the primary language of education, government, trade and media and heavy Catholic missionary activity resulted in almost 10% of the population identifying as Catholic by the 1940s. Prominent buildings in Hanoi were also constructed during the period of French rule, such as the Hanoi
Opera House and the Hanoi
University of Technology. By 1940, the total population of Annam was estimated at around 8 million.[2] Administration[edit] Main article: French Indochina See also: List of administrators of the French protectorate of Tonkin Tonkin
was a component of French Indochina. It was a de facto French colony despite being a protectorate on paper. The British Naval Intelligence Division wrote during World War II that "at first the native political organization was maintained, but in 1897 the office of viceroy, representing the king of Annam in Tonkin, was abolished, and since then other changes have further weakened the influence of the native government."[3] Tonkin
was administered by a French resident similar to those in Annam, Laos, and Cambodia, but he had much greater authority because of the absence of any indigenous administration.[3] A conseil du protectorat composed of important officials and representatives from the chambers of agriculture and commerce, assisted the resident in performing his duties. There was also an advisory council made up of Vietnamese.[3] Tonkin
was made up of 23 provinces, subdivided into phu or huyen, cantons, and communes.[3] Local administration was in the hands of Vietnamese mandarins, although they were appointed by the resident rather than the emperor as in Annam.[3] The smallest unit of administration, the commune, was overseen by two councils: the toc bieu, and the mandarin-dominated ky muc with the authority to veto decisions of the toc bieu.[3] Hanoi
and Haiphong
had municipal councils appointed by the governor-general of Indochina.[3] End[edit] Main articles: Japanese coup d'état in French Indochina
French Indochina
and First Indochina War French colonial administration lasted until March 9, 1945, during Japanese occupation (1941–1945). Although French administration was allowed during Japanese occupation as a puppet government, Japan briefly took full control of Vietnam
in March 1945 under the Empire of Vietnam
and Tonkin
became the site of the Vietnamese Famine of 1945 during this period.[4] At the end of the war, the north of Vietnam (including Tonkin) saw a sphere of influence by China while the south was briefly occupied by the British for French forces to regroup and regain control. Harry Truman
Harry Truman
at the Potsdam Conference, stated an intention to hand the region back to French rule, a sharp contrast to Franklin D. Roosevelt's strong opposition to colonialism and commitment to support the Viet Minh. However, after the Japanese withdrew from Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
proclaimed the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Democratic Republic of Vietnam
in Ba Đình Square. Hanoi
was later reoccupied by the French and conflict between the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
and France broke out into the First Indochina War. As the French sought to establish a coherent government in Vietnam
as an alternative to Ho Chi Minh, Tonkin
was merged in 1948 into the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam, which was replaced the next year by the State of Vietnam, following the reunification with Cochinchina. After the French defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
Battle of Dien Bien Phu
in Western Tonkin
in 1954, the communist state of North Vietnam
was formed, consisting of Tonkin
and northern Annam. Gallery[edit]

Capture of Nam Định, 1883

French zouave officer in Tonkin, Spring 1885

In Hanoi, around 1910

French General Gouvernor's Palace in Hanoi

woman with black-painted teeth (ca. 1905)

See also[edit]

Đàng Trong List of administrators of the French protectorate of Tonkin List of French possessions and colonies Vietnamese people


^ Pierre Brocheux and Daniel Hémery, Indochine : la colonisation ambiguë 1858–1954, La Découverte, 2004, p. 78-81 ^ Le Vietnam
compte à lui seul cinquante quatre ethnies, présentées au Musée Ethnographique de Hanoi. ^ a b c d e f g Naval Intelligence Division, 203–204. ^ L'Indochine française pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, Jean-Philippe Liardet

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tonkin.

v t e

French Indochina


France–Asia relations French colonial empire France– Vietnam
relations France–Thailand relations France–China relations

Constituent territories

Cochinchina Tonkin Annam Cambodia Laos Guangzhouwan Provisional Central Government of Vietnam State of Vietnam


French assistance to Nguyễn Ánh
French assistance to Nguyễn Ánh
(1777–1820) Lê Văn Khôi revolt
Lê Văn Khôi revolt
(1833–35) Bombardment of Tourane
Bombardment of Tourane
(1847) Siege of Tourane
Siege of Tourane
(1858) Cochinchina
campaign (1858–62) Tonkin
Campaign (1883–1886) Sino-French War
Sino-French War
(1884–1885) Pacification of Tonkin Franco-Siamese War
Franco-Siamese War
(1893) Holy Man's Rebellion (1901-1936) World War I 1916 Cochinchina
uprising Thái Nguyên uprising War of the Insane Bazin assassination Yên Bái mutiny World War II French–Thai War (1940–1941) Japanese invasion of French Indochina Japanese coup d'état in French Indochina August Revolution Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam First Indochina War Battle of Dien Bien Phu Partition of Vietnam


Treaty of Versailles (1787) Treaty of Saigon
(1862) Treaty of Huế (1863) Second Treaty of Saigon
(1874) Treaty of Huế (1883) Geneva Conference (1954)

French personalities

Alexandre de Rhodes Pierre Pigneau de Behaine Jean-Baptiste Chaigneau Jean-Baptiste Cécille Charles de Montigny Charles Rigault de Genouilly Amédée Courbet Henri Rivière Francis Garnier Ernest Doudart de Lagrée Auguste Pavie Albert Sarraut


Paris Foreign Missions Society Tirailleurs indochinois Tonkin
Expeditionary Corps Tonkinese Rifles Governor-General of French Indochina

v t e

French overseas empire


v t e

Former French colonies in Africa and the Indian Ocean

French North Africa

Algeria Morocco Tunisia

French West Africa

Côte d'Ivoire Dahomey French Sudan Guinea Mauritania


Niger Senegal Upper Volta


French Togoland James Island Albreda

French Equatorial Africa

Chad Gabon Middle Congo Ubangi-Shari French Cameroons

French Comoros

Anjouan Grande Comore Mohéli


French Somaliland
French Somaliland
(Djibouti) Madagascar Isle de France

v t e

Former French colonies in the Americas

New France

Acadia Louisiana Canada Terre Neuve

French Caribbean

Dominica Grenada The Grenadines Saint-Domingue

Haïti, Dominican Republic

Saint Kitts & Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent Tobago Virgin Islands

Equinoctial France

Berbice France
Antarctique Inini

French colonization of the Americas French West India Company

v t e

Former French colonies in Asia and Oceania

French India

Chandernagor Coromandel Coast Madras Mahé Pondichéry Karaikal Yanaon

Indochinese Union

Cambodia Laos Vietnam

Cochinchina Annam Tonkin

Kouang-Tchéou-Wan, China

French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon

State of Syria

Aleppo Damascus

Alawite State Greater Lebanon Jabal al-Druze Sanjak of Alexandretta


New Hebrides


Port Louis-Philippe (Akaroa)

France–Asia relations French East India Company


v t e

Overseas France

Inhabited areas

Overseas departments1

French Guiana Guadeloupe Martinique Mayotte2 Réunion

Overseas collectivities

French Polynesia St. Barthélemy St. Martin St. Pierre and Miquelon Wallis and Futuna

Sui generis
Sui generis

New Caledonia

Uninhabited areas

Pacific Ocean

Clipperton Island

Overseas territory (French Southern and Antarctic Lands)

Île Amsterdam Île Saint-Paul Crozet Islands Kerguelen Islands Adélie Land

Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean

Bassas da India3 Europa Island3 Glorioso Islands2, 3 Juan de Nova Island3 Tromelin Island4

1 Also known as overseas regions 2 Claimed by Comoros 3 Claimed by Madagascar 4 Claimed by Mauritius

Coordinates: 21°00′00″N 106°00′00″E / 21.0000°N 106.0000°E / 21.00