Franco-German Relations, 1878-1885

By Robert H. Wienefeld | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE RESULTS OF THE AFFAIR OF TONKIN

During the period from 1880 to 1885 France was engaged in establishing a large colonial empire, her statesmen successfully bringing under the control of the republic vast possessions in north and west Africa, Madagascar, and Tonkin. The acquisition of the latter territory, however, was effected with great difficulty. Napoleon III had gained a foothold in the region of Indo-China after a successful war with the emperor of Annam,1 for by the treaties of 1862 and 1867 the latter ceded six provinces to France.2 A further extension of French influence was made when a protectorate was assumed over Cambodia in August 1863.3 At the same time the desire of Frenchmen for new trade outlets made them active in opening the districts about the upper Mekong and Red Rivers.4 This caused difficulties with the mandarin of Tonkin,5 and in 1873 a French military force was sent to his capital at Hanoi for the purpose of conquering the delta of the Red River.6

The French government, however, considered dangerous the occupation of southeastern Tonkin, and accordingly arrangements were made for the evacuation of this territory.7 A protectorate treaty was concluded in April 1874 with the

____________________
1
The empire of Annam occupied the greater part of the peninsula bounded by the Bay of Bengal and the China Sea.
2
Henri Cordier, Histoire des Relations de la Chine avec les Puissances Occidentales, II, 257-261; Rambaud, 325.
3
Rambaud, 325; Norman D. Harris, Europe and the East, 352- 354. Cambodia comprises the territory between the Mekong River and the Gulf of Siam.
4
Cordier, II, 261-265; Paul Deschanel, La Question du Tonkin, 37 ff. The Mekong rises in Tibet and flows southeasterly, emptying into the China Sea. The Red River has its source in the province of Yunnan and flows into the China Sea.
5
Harris, 356.
6
Rambaud, 325; Cordier, II, 267. Also see Jean Dupuis, L'Ouverture du Fleuve Rouge au Commerce et les Événements du Ton-Kin, 1872-1873.
7
Cordier, II, 267; Harris, 356-357; Rambaud, 325.

-154-

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