French Influence In Vietnam In The 19th Century

1121 words - 5 pages

In the 19th century, the French had a great influence in Vietnam in different aspects including; culture, religion, ethics, economy, politics and government and nationalistic aspirations of the Vietnamese. The French ruled Vietnam from approximately mid-late 1800's until 1954 when Vietnam defeated the French. According by Edward Terry on the geocities website, the greatest influence in Vietnam was that of religion. Others may think differently, but this essay will explain how all different aspects had an impact on Vietnam and whether or not the French had a good or bad influence in Vietnam. According to the textbook Contested Spaces by Thomas Cantwell, French colonialism had a negative ...view middle of the document...

Even though, some may argue otherwise.Vietnamese architecture wasn't influenced strongly by the French but in the main cities such as Hanoi there can still be found the remnants of old French buildings. The French occupied the city so the majority of the buildings in the center like government buildings, offices, opera houses and big lodges were all made by the French.As said before, some argue that the biggest influence the French had in Vietnam was that of religion. The Société des Missions Étrangeres (The society of foreign missionaries) claims that up until the year of 1841, 450 000 Vietnamese had changed their religion to Christianity. However, those statistics aren't very reliable, because during the progress they might have killed twice as many people as that. Having said that, even up to today, Catholicism is the second most practised religion (after Buddhism) in Vietnam. Therefore there can be said that religion was one of the biggest influences the French had in Vietnam.Vietnamese moral and ethical values were mostly influenced by the Chinese and the French didn't have a great influence on Vietnamese ethics. The French might have brought in some Europeans habits, but the majority of the Vietnamese lived by Chinese ethics.The French also had a great impact on the Vietnamese economy. The French opened banks in Vietnam but only to the benefit of the French. Looking at the economic influences the French had on Vietnam there can be said it was a bad influence for Vietnamese people. The French also introduced a wine tax in 1817 and since the national drink of Vietnam was rice wine, this had a great impact on the Vietnamese people. They controlled the rice wine manufacture, distribution and sale in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Local production was illegal. Salt was also very important product to the Vietnamese. In 1897 Governor General Paul Doumer also introduced a salt tax. Salt could only be purchased from French outlets with a price 10 times larger than its original price. The French also took opium from Asia and introduced it in Europe. They started trading and by 1929 the whole of Indochina was producing approximately 80 tonnes of opium yearly. All of these things influenced the economy because...

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