On the 1st September in 1858 a sea expedition- of 14 vessels carrying 2,500 men, under the naval commander Rigault de Genouilly storms the harbour of Tourane (De Nang) and captures it, in one day. It is turned it into a French military base.
In 1859 Genouilly sails southwards and seizes Saigon.
From 1859 until 1861 the Vietnamese resistance prevents the French from advancing past Saigon.
In 1862 Viet Minh are unable to sustain their defence against the advancing French troops with superior weaponry. A peace treaty is signed which yields the conquered territories to the French. The entire colony is named Cochinchina.
Amazingly, despite defeat to the French Tu Duc commences the building of a massive mausoleum in 1864.
It is finished in 1867 and it consists of splendid buildings and rambling gardens. It resembles a second Imperial City rather than a tomb. There, in splendor he contemplates on life and writing poetry while the peasants starve.
Photos: Tu Duc mandarins are immortalized in stone in his mausoleum
Photo: Paul outside the entrance to Tu Duc Mausoleum on the outskirts of Hue.
Photo: Tu Duc’s Life and beliefs, written in Sanskrit.
It takes the French 8 years to make themselves masters of Cochinchina and a further 8 years to master the whole country.
In 1883 the Vietnamese court sign a treaty that turned northern Vietnam (Tonkin) and central Vietnam (Annam) into French colonies.
In 1897 Guvnor General Paul Doumer arrives in Vietnam. He imposes French rule over all levels of administration, leaving the Vietnamese bureaucracy, including its Emperors with little or no power.
From 1897 until 1902 Doumer is responsible for the development of French Indochina which now includes Laois and Cambodia. He builds harbours, canals, bridges, railroads and thoroughfares which provides easy access to natural resources of rice, coal, rare minerals and in later years, rubber which are exported directly to France.
During this time economic and social policies are determined, where all industry and profits benefit France. These policies remain for the entire period of French rule.
The people who support of France benefit. Those who do not suffer. There is little or no education available for the entire population of Vietnam.
The French and their supporters are Catholics. The rest of the country practice Buddhism and in the Mekong Delta Coa Dai and Hoa Hao religions are increasing in popularity and number. The Coa Dai religion begins when Ngo Van Chieu receives spiritual revelation from a Supreme Deity.
In 1926 a new religion known as the Coa Dai or, to give it its full title Dai Dao Tam Ky Pho Do, which means The Great Religion Of the Third Period Of Revelation and Salvation, is formed.
The Cao Dai believe that their sect was created directly by God through His communication with its first four disciples Cao Hoai Sang, Ngo Van Chieu, Pham Cong Tac, Cao Quynh.
Photo: The first four disciples of Coa Dai.
Cao Hoai Sang, Ngo Van Chieu, Pham Cong Tac, Cao Quynh
As far as I can understand, in the Coa Dai the purpose of life is peace within each individual and harmony in the world and this is achieved by uniting the compelling beliefs of all religions into a unified whole.
Photo. A Coa Dai Temple in the Mekong Delta area with the all seeing eye of God overlooking all.
They venerate Jesus Christ, Buddha, Confucius and Laozi and others in prayer and practice meditation, nonviolence, vegetarianism so as to reach their goals of uniting with God.
Once united with God they aspirant is released from bad karma and the ultimate cycle of birth and death.
Note to self
I am fascinated by this religion and their desire to find unity in all things, even if they do not allow women into their higher ranks.
But then again in this religion Buddha is a woman so that must stand for something I guess.
Photo: Lady Buddha is venerated in the Mekong Delta
I will return our attention once again to what is happening in the political situation throughout Vietnam in the next post