1902 Encyclopedia > Cochin China

Cochin China

COCHIN CHINA, a name applied to the eastern division of the Indo-Chinese peninsula, composed of the territories of Anam proper, Tong-king, and the French colony of Cochin China. It forms a long strip of country which stretches in an are of a circle along a coast-line of 1240 miles from 8º 30' to 23' N. lat. With a breadth of 372 miles in the north of Tong-king, it is afterwards narrowed by a chain of mountains parallel to the China Sea, and has no more than 50 miles of breadth in the greater part of the kingdom of Hué; but in Lower Cochin China it widens out again to about 190 miles. The most western point, in Tong-king, reaches 102º 20' E. long., and the most eastern, Cape Varela, in Cochin China, is in 109º 40'. The boundaries are—on the N. the Chinese provinces of Yun-Dan and Kwang-se, on the E. and S. the China Sea, on the W. the Gulf of Siam, the kingdom of Cambodia, and the Laos country tributary to the Siamese empire. According to the most probable estimates the empire of Anam has an area of from 190,000 to 230,000 square miles, or about the same extent as France ; while the French colony occupies about 21,630. The western limits of this empire are, however, very imperfectly determined, and the regions to the west of Tong-king are still unexplored. The N. of Cochin China is washed by the Gulf of Tong-king, a great inlet formed by the coast of Tong-king on the W. and the island of Hai-nan and the peninsula of Lien-chow on the E. At its mouth, towards Tiger Island and the S.W. part of Hai-nan, the gulf has a breadth of about 138 English miles, which almost represents its medium breadth. Near the west coast are several islands, and towards the head of the gulf a great number of islets and banks. From soundings which have been taken throughout its whole extent, it has been found that in the middle of the entrance there is a depth of from 210 to 330 feet, which diminishes towards the coasts; and the depth is less half-way up the gulf, where the bottom is generally soft.

Passing along the coast from Cape Pak-loung, where the frontier commences between China and Tong-king, we find that all the part north of the Gulf of Tong-king is little known ; it is said to be fringed with banks and rocks, and some large islands have been visited by English vessels in pursuit of pirates. The most important are the Pirate Islands, a group of multitudinous islets in a bay of which the Chinese name is Fie-tzi-long, and the Pearl Islands. Next we find the mouth of the River Lach-Huyen, which is deep, but obstructed about a mile inland by a bar preventing the entrance of any vessel drawing more than 11 1/2 feet, Next come the mouths of the River of Tong-king, Song-Coi, or Hong-kiang (Red River). The delta of this river is formed by four main branches—Cua1 trà lay, Cua lac, Cua

FOOTNOTE (page 93)

1 Cua signifies embouchure.

dhai, Cua ba lat—which communicate with each other both by natural channels, called arroyos, and by artificial canals. These are charged with alluvial matter, and produce considerable increase of soil. Mr E. Ploix, a hydrographic engineer who visited the gulf between 1857 and 1859, estimates the annual advance of the coast at about 330 feet. It is by these rivers that Ke-cho, or Ha-noi, the capital of Tong-king, can be reached. This town and the port of Ninh-hai, in the province of Hai-dzuoug, were opened to foreign commerce by a treaty concluded between France and the Government of Hué, March 15,1874. To allow a ship to pass up the river at any season its draught must not exceed 5 1/2 feet, and from the end of May to the end of November, vessels drawing 12 feet can cross the bars.

About 18º 10' N. lat. lies the island Hon-tseu, or Goats’ Island, near a prominent cape about 1410 feet high. A little to the south of Hon-tseu is the point to the north of which there is only one tide in 24 hours, except during a period of two weeks, when on three or four days there are two tides of little force. At Cape Boung-Qui-hoa there is a good anchorage well sheltered by islands, of which the chief is South Watcher Island, or South Vigie. In front of Cape Lay is the little Tiger Island, where the west coast of the Gulf of Tong-king terminates. On the China Sea the coast presents successively, as we pass southward, the mouth of the River Hué, defended by a fort; the Bay of Tourane, wide, deep, and well sheltered, but unfortunately situated in an unhealthy district, and in the poorest part of the country; the Bay of Quit-Quit, a very good anchorage, and the safest on this coast during the N.E. monsoon; the Island Cn-lao-ré, or Pulo Canton; the port of Qui-nhon, or Binh dhinh, in the province of this name, opened to European commerce by the treaty of March 1874 ; the bay and the commodious port of Phuyen ; Cape Varela, or Mui-nai, a very lofty peak visible 30 nautical miles out at sea, and to the south of the cape the port of Hon-ro, safe at all seasons of the year ; the Bay of Phan-rang and Cape Padaran, or Mui-Din, districts bordered by coral banks ; Cape Ke-ga; and Cape Ba-kee, which forms the limit between lower Cochin China and the kingdom of Anam. Between Cape Padaran and Cape Ba-kee the coast is low, and bordered by dangerous banks. In front are the little islands of Pulo Cecir, Catwick, and Pulo Sapate, of difficult access.

The whole of lower Cochin China being formed of alluvial deposits, its coast is very low, has little irregularity of surface, and is covered with mangroves. The different mouths of the River Cambodia or Me-kong form a delta of more than 70 miles in extent. The soil is subject to frequent changes on account of the alluvial deposits of the river, which is bordered by sand banks stretching seawards out of sight of land. At the entrance of the River Don-nai, which leads to Saigon, rises Cape St Jacques, a peak 920 feet above the level of the sea. At 45 sea-miles from the coast and from the mouths of the Me-kong, is the island of Pule Condore, with a good port, and a penitentiary established by the French Government. On the west coast of Lower Cochin China, in the Gulf of Siam, is the port of Ha-Tien, communicating by a canal with one of the arms of the Me-kong.

To the north of Tong-king terminate the last underfalls of the high plateau of Thibet ; a long chain stretches parallel to the Sea of China as far as the south of the kingdom of Anam of which it forms the western boundary. The highest point of this chain does not exceed 5250 feet. Between the last ramifications of the mountains of Thibet there descend from the plateau of Yun-nan and in a south-east direction the affluents of the great River Song-Coi or Hong-kiang, which undergoes periodic variations in the supply of its waters. In the month of March it is very low; but every year about the month of July it leaves its channel, floods a part of the country, and rolls along with a very powerful current. Before passing Ha-noi it receives the tribute of two great rivers, known to the natives by the names of the Black River and the Clear River.

The kingdom of Anam, closely shut in between the mountains and the sea, is drained by numerous but unimportant streams. Lower Cochin China, or French Cochin China, is abundantly watered by the numerous mouths and the canals which form the delta of the Me-kong or Cambodia. This river takes its rise in the mountains of Thibet, waters the southern provinces of China and the district of Laos tributary to Siam, and crosses through the kingdom of Cambodia, where it divides into three branches. The first, which does not penetrate into Cochin China, turns towards the north-west and loses itself in the Lake of Tonli Sap. The second, which takes the name of Hinder River (Hau-giang or Song-sau) flows south-east, enters Cochin China, communicates with the Sea of Siam by the Canal Vinh-te of Ha-tien and by that of Rach-gia, and enters the China Sea by two mouths. The third branch, named Front River (Tien-giang or Song-truoc), flows parallel to the preceding, divides at Vinh-long into four arms, and debouches by six mouths. These streams form numerous islands and communicate with each other by means of canals or arroyos. In spite of the length of its course and the great mass of its waters, the Me-kong cannot be utilized as a means of communica-tion with Central China, because of the numerous ressauts and rapids which encumber its course. It is besides subject to an annual flood; the waters begin to rise in May, attain their maximum in October, and decrease until March. From the month of March to the month of May the level is almost constant. Two other streams water the east of Lower Cochin China,—the Vaico, divided into two branches, and the Donnai. These rivers communicate with each other and with the mouths of the Me-kong by numerous arroyos. The Donnai receives the Saigon River ; and it is by this means that the largest vessels reach the town of that name.

The climate of the north of Anam differs much from that of the south. In Tong-king, though it is usual to divide the year into a dry and a wet season, there is properly speaking no dry season. In December and January the thermometer falls to 41º or 43º Fahr. Summer corresponds to the period of the rains from the end of April to the month of August ; and at that time it is excessively hot. Storms are frequent, and the coasts are often visited by typhoons. At the same time Tong-king is a healthy country; the weather during four months is excellent ; and the French colony of Saigon might find there—what has never been discovered in Cochin China proper—a suitable site for a sanatorium. The climate of the French colony is unhealthy for Europeans; they cannot be acclimatized. The mortality of the troops is rather high; and before their residence was shortened to two years it might be calculated at 9 on 10 per cent. for a three years’ residence. The chief cause of the maladies which affect Europeans is the character of the soil. On the banks of the rivers, in the salt marshes, and along the shores of the sea, inter-mittent fevers of great severity are frequent. In the forest land rages the terrible wood-fever, from which the native himself cannot escape, though he lives unharmed in the midst of the rice swamps. But the great plague of Lower Cochin China is dysentery,—a disease which, endemic in all warm countries, proves in Cochin China particularly fatal. It is to it that the greater part of the deaths among Europeans are to be ascribed ; and they often succumb to its effects after their return to their native country. Most of the children born of European parents in Cochin China die a short time after birth. White women are there exposed to many dangers, especially during their delivery; and there is consequently little hope of forming there a race of creoles. The native women, on the contrary, are very prolific, and suffer surprisingly little in childbirth. It is also interesting to observe that the Anamites, like the races of the extreme East, recover from wounds of the greatest severity, which would infallibly kill Europeans even in their own country.

The mean temperature of Lower Cochin China is 83º Fahr. The greatest heat in April and May within doors is 97º Fahr. In the mornings of December the temperature falls to 65º Fahr, The year is divided into the dry season, which corresponds to the N.E. monsoon, and the rainy season, which corresponds to the S.W. monsoon. What renders the climate peculiarly injurious and enervating is that, besides the very slight difference between the tempera-tures of day and night, the hygrometric readings are always very high. The surface of Cochin China, composed of recent alluvial deposits, is absolutely flat, and in some places is below the level of the sea. The slightness of the slope of this vast plain allows the tide to advance far inland, and the borders of the rivers to be alternately covered with water and exposed to the perpendicular rays of the sun. Ali the coasts are covered by mangroves (the marsh-tree of the tropics), which with their dull monotonous foliage everywhere betoken the unhealthiness of the soil.

The finest species of tiger, the royal tiger, is to be met with from the mountains which bound Tong-king on the north as far as the south of Lower Cochin China ; and a short time ago it was still to be found in the wooded bills close to Saigon. The other wild animals are the panther, the rhinoceros, the elephant—which the people of Anam have not learned to domesticate—the cocoa-nut bear, the stag, the wild boar, the wild ox, and monkeys of various kinds. The domestic animals are goats, horses, buffaloes (with which the Indo-Chinese carry on the difficult and unhealthy cultivation of the rice-fields), and pigs, which are kept in great numbers. There are numerous birds of many species, which—as in all tropical regions—are remarkable for the beauty of their plumage. Among the rest may be men-tioned pea-fowl, pheasants, turtle-doves, the green pigeons of Pulo Condore, paroquets, hornbills, sultana fowls, and various species of wading birds and palmipeds. The rivers abound with life; and the fish, though of poor quality, form an important part of the food of the people. They are caught, along with frogs and snakes, even in the mud of the rice-fielils. The crocodile is frequently met with, and adds another item to the native cuisine. This hot damp country swarms with reptiles, of which some species are very dangerous. Among these are the huge cobra di capello (Naja), many species of adders, and the immense python, which is of much use in destroying during the night all kinds of rats, including the intolerable musk-rat.

The forests furnish several kinds of timber for building. In the plains and valleys are numerous fruit-trees,—the banana, the guava, the papaw, the medlar-tree, the orange, the citron, and most abundant of all, the cabbage-palm and the cocoa-tree, and the cinnamon of which Tong-king furnishes a superior quality. The people of Anam are essentially agricultural. Besides rice, which is the chief production of the country, the cultivated lands furnish cotton, mulberry, sugar-cane, maize, betel-nut, and vegetables, especially potatoes, earth-nuts, and pepper. Tea is cultivated also, especially in Tong-king, but the people of Anam do not know how to prepare it.

To the traveller who pays only a brief visit the kingdom of Anam appears ill provided with metals. If a mine be discovered the natives forbid access to it, and still more frequently, for fear of the authorities, are unwilling to give any information. Two excellent authors, Messrs T. Crawfurd and M’Culloch have supported this false opinion in their works. More precise information has, however, been obtained, recent explorers of the country stating that Tong-king is very rich in metals, and furnishes especially gold, silver, brass, zinc, and iron. It is from Tong-king that the famous tam-tams, the manufacture of which is still a secret to Europeans, are obtained. Cochin China, properly so-called, furnishes also gold, silver, brass, and marble ; and coal is found there in several places. Lower Cochin China, like all alluvial plains, is poor in minerals; quarries, however, of granite and of jet are worked.

There is little industrial activity in Anam, but in Tong-king the manufacture of articles inlaid with mother--of-pearl is carried on. From China Cochin China re-ceives a large quantity of manufactured goods, cotton and silk stuffs, porcelain, and tea. The importation from France is also very considerable. The principal exports are rice (which forms of itself half the sum total), salt fish, provided principally by the fisheries at the mouth of the two chief rivers, salt, undyed cotton, pepper, and the skins of animals. The great commercial importance of Cochin China arises from the excellence of its situation, as a way of communication with the rich and populous provinces of middle China. England has long been seeking to open a route for trade between the north-east of India, or Pegu, and the south-west of China, but up to the present time, notwithstanding the courage and devotion of explorers, these attempts have failed.

From 1866 to 1868 a French expedition, commanded by Captain Doudart de Lagrée, followed up the course of the Me-kong, and penetrated into middle China. This expedition cost its chief his life, for he died in consequence of the fatigue which he underwent in Yun-nan. This examination of the Me-kong proved that this fine river is, as already noticed, unfit for regular navigation. Another route, however, by the Tong-king, may be opened up; and it is comparatively easy and habitually used by the natives. In 1872 Mr Dupuis, a French merchant, passed up the course of the Hong-kiang as far as Mang-Hao, a town of Yun-nan, where the river ceases to be navigable. He came down the river again in 1873. He declares it to be navigable in every season, and has thus solved the problem which Captain Doudart de Lagrée sought to solve by means of the Me-kong. M. Dupuis’s expedition led the French authorities, at the solicitation of the Government of Hué, to despatch M. Francis Garnier to the Tong-king ; but the gallant explorer was assassinated by pirates in the neighbourbood of Ha-noi.

The native of Anain is the worst built and the ugliest of all the Indo-Chinese who belong to the Mongolian race, He is scarcely of middle height, and is shorter and less vigorous than his neighbours. His complexion is tawny, darker than that of the Chinese, but clearer than that of the Cambodian; his skin is thick; his forehead low; his skull slightly depressed at the top, but well developed at the sides. His face is flat, with highly protruding cheek-bones, and is lozenge-shaped or eurygnathous to a degree that is nowhere exceeded. His nose is not only the flattest, but also the smallest among the Indo-Chinese ; his mouth is large, and his lips thick; his teeth are blackened and his gunis destroyed by the constant use of the betel-nut, the areca-nut, and lime, a custom which perhaps originated in hygienic reasons. His neck is short, his shoulders slope greatly, his body is thick-set, large, all of one piece, as it were, and wanting in suppleness. His pelvis is large, with a considerable separation of the upper part of the femora, giving to his gait a curious swagger, which has, not without reason, been described as theatrical. This odd swagger by itself suffices to distinguish the Anamese from every other Indo-Chinese people without exception. Another peculiarity, which especially distinguishes this race from the other Indo-Chinese branches, is a greater separation of the big toe from the rest than is found in any of the other peoples that walk bare-footed. It is sufficiently general and well marked to serve as an ethnographic test; and it indicates that the people of Anam are not descended—as some authors have asserted—from a mingling of indigenous savages with the Chinese, but have existed as a distinct race for a long time. According to Father Legrand de la Liraye (Notes historiques sur la nation Annamite, Saigon, 1865), this curious feature has served to distinguish the people of Anam since the year 2285 B.C., that is to say, 63 years after the Biblical deluge. This statement, taken as it is from the Chinese annals, shows that the Anamese could not have received this characteristic from their neighbours ; and it is a very curious fact that it has been transmitted to the present inhabitants despite the frequent intermarriages with other races which must have taken place during this period of forty centuries. The inhabitants of Lower Cochin China are evidently weaker and smaller than those of Tong-king, and this pro-bably results from their dwelling in marshy rice-fields.

In the midst of the Anamese live Cambodians and immigrant Chinese, the latter, associated together accord-ing to the districts they come from, carrying on nearly all the commerce of the country. In the forests on the frontiers of Cochin China dwell certain wretched savages called Mois, or Stiengs, of whom little is known; and alongside of these are the Chams, a Mahometan people which appear to be of Arab origin, and, in spite of a strong infusion of Chinese blood, preserve the warlike qualities of their ancestors, their love of fighting, their gay and open character, and their abstinence from theft. Their stature is tall, and they are characterized 'by the enormous projection of the soft parts of the abdomen. Their women, while mixing freely in society without veiling, have a high--spirited virtue which forms a contrast to the corruption that prevails around them. Their language shows that they once knew the lion and the chamois; and while they are now inferior in civilization, they preserve traces in their vocabulary of a higher condition. Among the different races which inhabit Indo-China numerous mixtures take Place. There are crosses of the Anamite with the Hindu, with the Malay, with the Cambodian, and with the Chinese. The last of these half breeds, who are called Min-huongs, are the most numerous and interesting.

Evidently derived from the Chinese, of which it appears to be a very ancient dialect, the Anamese language is com-posed of monosyllables, of slightly varied articulation, expressing absolutely different ideas according to the tone in which they are pronounced. It is quite impossible to connect with our musical system the utterance of the sounds of which the Chinese and Anamese languages are composed. What is understood by a "tone" in this language is distinguished in reality, not by the number of sonorous vibrations which belong to it, but rather by a use of the vocal apparatus special to each. Thus, the sense will to a native be completely changed according as the sound is the result of an aspiration or of a simple utterance of the voice. Thence the difficulty of substituting our phonetic alphabet for the ideographic characters of the Chinese, as well as for the ideophonetic writing partly borrowed by the Anamese from the letters of the celestial empire. We owe to the Jesuit missionaries the introduc-tion of an ingenious though very complicated system, which has caused remarkable progress to be made in the employment of phonetic characters. By means of six accents, one bar, and a crotchet, it is possible to note with sufficient precision the indications of tone without which the Anamese words have no sense for the natives. This system is universally adopted in French Cochin China, and the new generation, almost without exception, are able to read and write in Latin characters.

The Anamese are idle, incapable of deep emotion, and fond of ease. They show much outward respect for superiors and parents, but they take great delight in mocking and banter. They cherish great love of their native soil and native village, and cannot long remain far from home. On the whole they are mild, or rather apathetic, but the facility with which they learn is remark-able. Buddhism, mingled with coarse popular beliefs, is the dominant creed, but the learned hold the doctrine of Confucius, and in truth the people of Anam are but slightly religious. Nevertheless, like their neighbours, the Chinese and the Cambodians, they have a great respect for the dead, and their worship almost entirely consists of ceremonies in honour of their ancestors. Like the Chinese they dispose of the body by inhumation. Among the savage tribes of the interior there is scarcely any idea of a God, and the superstitious practices to which they are addicted can scarcely be considered as the expression of a definite religious idea. Christianity counts 400,000 adherents in Tong-king and 5000 in Lower China.

The system of government in the empire of Anam is pure and absolute monarchy without any other constitution than powerful custom. The succession to the throne follows the order of primogeniture. Between the citizens there exists the most complete equality, since public offices are open to all, and there are no other social distinctions than those due to office or fortune. The sovereign, at once high priest and supreme judge, governs despotically with the assistance of six ministers. The army, or rather the military list, for a large part of the force exists only on paper, is composed of 80 regiments, with 500 men in each. It is recruited from Cochin China; Tong-king furnishes no soldiers. It is under the command of a commander--in-chief, a kind of constable of the kingdom, or grand marshal, who is personally responsible for the defence of the citadel of Hué. The marine, which has no ships, is composed of 30 regiments, under an admiral-in-chief, who is assisted by a -vice-admiral and two rear-admirals, each of whom commands 10 regiments. The mandarins, as in China, form two distinct classes—the civil and the military. The first class are scholars who have passed literary examinations. The latter are chosen chiefly on account of physical fitness; and it is only in the highest ranks that well-educated respectable men are to be found. The people have a great regard for the learned, who have all received a higher moral education,—that of Confucius. The mandarins are divided into nine degrees, and each degree comprises two classes. Besides the French colony, the empire of Anam is divided into 24 provinces placed each under the authority of a governor. The province is subdivided into departments, arrondissements, cantons, and communes, The French colony, administered by a governor assisted by a privy council, comprehends the six ancient provinces of the south. It is now divided into four provinces, bearing the names of their chief cities,—Saigon, Mî-thô, Vinh-long, and Bassac. The provinces form to-gether 19 inspectorships with an administrator of native affairs at the head of each.

The chief town and the ancient capital of Tong-king, Ha-noi, or Ke-cho (i.e., the market), situated on one of the branches of the Song-Coi, though at present greatly fallen, still contains at least 50,000 inhabitants. It possesses a very large citadel, which serves as the residence of the viceroy and of the special envoy or royal commissioner, who is the first authority in Tong-king. This citadel, at present badly kept in repair and poorly equipped, was built in the course of last century according to plans furnished by European engineers. The provincial capitals of Hai-dzuong (30,000 inhabitants), Bac-Ninh, Nam-Dinh, likewise possess important citadels; and that of Minh-binh, also the chief town of a province, is the strongest of all Tong-king. Hué, or Phu-tua-tien, capital of the kingdom of Anam, is composed of two portions—the inner town, a vast fortress built on the Vauban system according to the plans of French engineers, and occupied by the Government; and the outer town, which is inhabited by the mass of the population, who are estimated at 100,000 souls. Mention may also be made of Tourane and Quin-nhon, or Binh-dhinh, important ports open to European commerce. Saigon, the capital of the French colony, is composed of three towns:—1st, an Asiatic town, inhabited by Anamese husbandmen, fishers, or servants, by mercantile Chiuamen, by Malays, Tagals, and Hindus engaged in various occupations; 2d, the town of the colonists ; and 3d, the Government town, inhabited by the Government employés, administrators, officers, and physicians. The houses are mainly built of brick. Two gardens, one belonging to the governor and the other the botanical, overlook the town. The latter is very interesting, containing as it does a fine collection of trees and plants, both indigenous and exotic, as well as a very curious menagerie. At the port of Saigon 387 vessels entered and 398 left in 1874, which forms about half of the whole maritime trade in the colony. Eight miles from Saigon is the town of Cho-len (i.e., the great market), a Chinese town with, an extensive commerce, and according to some writers 80,000, according to others 30,000 or 40,000 inhabitants. The other towns of the colony are Go-cong to the south-west of Saigon, where, in the midst of the rice fields, there lives an agricultural population, which presents in all its purity the true Anamese type ; -Mî-thô, a port on one of the arms of the Me-kong, and the second town of the colony; the fort and the town of Vinh-long ; the fort and town of Chaudoc ; Ha-tien, on the Gulf of Siam, one of the most unhealthy places on the coast, inhabited by Chinese and Anamese; and at the Cape St Jacques, the military port and fort of Ba-ria.

It is difficult to state the exact number of the population of the empire of Anam, and authors vary greatly in their estimates. The data which appear most worthy of credit give a total sum of 10 or 12 millious. As to the French colony, the last official census of which the results have been published was made in 1873; it gives 1,487,200 inhabitants, of whom 49,500 were Chinese and 82,700 Cambodians. The Europeans numbered 1114, exclusive of the Government officials and the garrison.

The Anamese, according to their own annals, are natives of the south of China. "In the 2d or 3d century before Abraham," says Père Legrand de la Liraije, "four barbarous tribes occupied the limits of the Chinese empire; to the south was the tribe of the Giao-chi." It is from this tribe that the Anamese claim to have descended ; and at the time when history begins to acquire some degree of certitude, about 2357 before our era, the Chinese annals mention the Anamese under the name of Giao-chi, which signifies "with the big toe." According to native scholars the history of this epoch is of a legendary character. It results from their labours that for twenty centuries the race of Giao-chi was governed in vassalage to the empire by a dynasty of Chinese origin, which lasted till 257 B.c. From that date till 110 before the Christian era the throne was held by two other vassal dynasties; and from 110 B.c. till 907 A.D. these dynasties were replaced by Chinese governors. In the beginning of the 10th century some of the native chiefs, weary of the Chinese rule, revolted ; and their efforts were crowned with success. From 960 downwards, under the government of native princes, the Anamese lived independent, and preserved rather the name than the reality of vassalage to the Chinese empire. Since that time the nation, with a most remarkable aptitude for expansion, has aggrandized itself at the expense of its neighbours, and has conquered from the Cambodians Tsiampa and the six pro-vinces of the south which now form the French colony. It is to be noted that the Cambodians, though endowed with physical force far superior to that of the Cochin Chinese, have been beaten by them in every encounter,

It is nearly a century since the first treaty of alliance was signed between France and the kingdom of Anam. By this treaty dated the 28th November 1787, the king of Cochin-China ceded to France in full property the Penin-sula of Tourane and the Isle of Pulo-Condore. The agree-ment was only partially executed, but it was sufficient to render the influence of France predominant in Cochin China; and Christianity made rapid progress in Tong-king. At the death of the king Gia-long, in 1820, the party hostile to strangers prevailed; and several attempts to pro-tect the French missionaries and establish the French influ-ence had failed, when in 1858, in consequence of the murder of M. Diaz,—who was put to death by order of the king, merely on account of the news that a French ship was cruising in sight of the coast,—a squadron was sent under the command of Admiral Rigault de Genouilly, who seized Tourane. Shortly after the admiral made explorations in the south, seeking a better situation for a settlement than Tourane, and passing up the River Don-naï, he took posses-sion of Saigon, the true capital of Lower Cochin China. On the 5th June 1862 the court of Hué accepted a treaty, by which it abandoned three provinces to France, and bound itself to pay an indemnity of war. After various expedi-tions occasioned by revolts, France occupied in 1867 the three other provinces of Lower Cochin China, and after long negotiations a treaty was signed at Saigon, on the 15th March 1874, definitively abandoning the six provinces to France. This treaty opens besides to the commerce of all nations one port in eastern Cochin China and one port in Tong-king, and guarantees liberty of transit from the sea as far as Yun-nan.

Bibliography.—M. Barbié du Bocage, secretary of the Central Commission of the Geographical Society at Paris, published in 1867 a very complete bibliography of the books, periodicals, manuscripts, and plans relating to the history and geography of Anam, in a pamphlet of 105 pages, 8vo. In M. Vivien de Saint Martin’s well--known work—L’Année Giographique, Hachette and Cie—there is to be found a list well up to date of new works on Indo-China, among which we may mention—Fr. von Richthofen, Sur les Provinces Sud-ouest de la Chine; MacMahon (Colonel A. P.) Routes du Sud-ouest de la Chine; Edinburgh Review, April 1873; F. Vial, Les premières annèes de la Cochinchine, 1874; Romanet du Caillaux, La France au, Tong King; Aymonnier, Dictionnaire françaiscambodgien et Géographie du Cambodge, 1876; G. Coryton, "On the Routes between British Burmah and the West of China," in vol. xix. of Journ. R. G. S., 1849; Papers read by Docteur Mondières and Docteur A. Morice before the Societé d’Authropologie, in Jan. 1875; Dr Harmand, Aperçu pathologique sur la Cochinchine; Bigrel, Carte générale de la Cochinchine française, with an interesting note on the proper names. The following recent works have not been mentioned in the Année Géographique.—1nstructions nautiques publiées par le Ministère de la Marine; Tableaux de Population, de Culture, de Commerce, et de Navigation, publiés par le Ministère de la Marine; Petit cours de Géographie de la Basse Cochinchine, by P. J. B. Truong-vinh-ky, Saigon, 1875; Cours d’histoire annamite à l’usage des écoles de la Basse Cochinchine, by Truong-vinh-ky; Voyage d’Exploration en Indo-Chinc pendant les années 1866, 1867, 1868, sous le Commandement de M. Daudart de Lagrée, publié sous la direction de M. Francis Garnier, 2 vols., Hachette, 1873—a magnificent work. The following are of earlier date:—Viaggi di Tre Vescovi in 1669; Barrow, A Voyage to Cochin China in the years 1792 and 1793; Bissachère, Etat actuel de Cochin-chine, 1812 : Crawfurd’s Embassy to the Courts of Siam and Cochin China, 1828; Gutzlaff "Geography of the Cochin Chinese Empire," in Journ. Roy. Soc., 1849); Bouillevaux, Voyage dans l’Indo-Chine, 1848-56, Paris, 1858; Veuillot, La Cochinchine et la Tonquin, 1859; Cortambert and De Rosny, Tableau de la Cochinchine; Mouhot, Siam, Cambodia, and Lao, 1864. A Dictionnarium an amiticum, lusitanum, et latinum was published at Rome in 1671 by Père Alex. de Rhode; and another, the combined work of Pigneaux and Tabard, appeared in 1838. An essay on the language and writing was published by Schott in 1855. (C. MA.)

Search the Encyclopedia:

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries