🇻🇳 Colonialism in Vietnam: History and Post-Effects

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Colonialism in Vietnam

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Colonialosm in Vietnam is an important chapter of world history. From the year 1884 to 1954, people of Vietnam were treated with disdain and impoverished by French. Candidates who are preparing for upcoming government exams then they should cover this chapter. Questions may revolve around the beginning of Colonialism in Vietnam to Decolonisation in Vietnam. To learn about all the necessary information regarding this crucial event, go through the blog below. 

⏳ Vietnam In Pre-Colonial Era

Many countries in their pre-colonial period had their own socio-cultural norms and ways to support livelihood. Vietnam too had a thriving ecosystem that was built on many norms, traditions, and kingdoms that were set in place by the natives themselves. Let’s explore how Vietnamese people lived before colonisation-

  1. Economy- The Vietnamese economy before colonisation was heavily dependent on handicrafts, trade, and agriculture. 
  2. Cities- There was no concept of cities as such in Vietnam before colonization. Many villages in Vietnam were governed by elected/chosen elders of the village. 
  3. Beliefs and Religions- Vietnam was a melting hotpot of not only many beliefs and religions but many racial groups as well. 

🤔 Who Colonised Vietnam?

Many people are unaware of the fact that Vietnam was colonised twice

  • China from 111 BC to 938 AD
  • France from 1884 to 1945

Vietnam under China- China is exempted as a coloniser by several historians and scholars due to the fact that the Vietnamese defeated and drove out Chinese rulers many times during their ruling period. Thus, the French are usually considered accountable for colonialism in Vietnam. 

Vietnam under French- The French ruled Vietnam for over 60 years, until 1954, when they were defeated by the Vietnamese communist forces in the First Indo-Chinese War. Some view French colonialism in Vietnam as a period marked by progress, while many others dub it a blot of exploitation and cultural recession for Vietnamese people. 

🗓️When did Colonialism in Vietnam begin?

Some historians argue that Vietnam was first colonized in 111 BC by the Chinese Han Dynasty, while others believe that it was the French who colonized Vietnam in 1884 with the intention of not only ruling the country but also exploiting its natural resources.

📜 Timeline of Colonialism in Vietnam

Following is a timeline of events that depicts the colonisation and decolonisation of Vietnam over a certain period of time-

 Some other crucial events during the colonial period of Vietnam are-

  • French colonisers amalgamated Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as a IndoChinese Union.
  • Ho Chi Minh formed the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930.
  • A communist-led resistance movement is led against Japanese occupation of Vietnam during World War 2 in 1941.
  • Viet Minh declared Vietnamese independence on 2nd September 1945.
  •  Viet Minh organisation defeats French colonisers after fighting a long battle from 1946-1954.

Must Read: What is Colonialism: Definition, History, and Significance

🇫🇷 How did French Colonisation Affect Vietnam? 

Let’s take a quick glance at how French colonisation affected Vietnamese-

Positive Effects– Vietnam under French colonial powers was introduced to Western education, modern infrastructure, technology and public healthcare.

Negative Effects– Vietnam suffered immensely under French colonisation. The country was exploited for its natural resources, suppressed culturally and politically. 

🇨🇳 How did Chinese Rule Affect Vietnam? 

Let’s take a quick glance at how Chinese rule affected Vietnamese-

Positive Effects

  • Exchange of beliefs such as Confucianism and Buddhism.
  • Helping Vietnamese improve their agriculture and irrigation-related technology.

Negative Effects

  • Political oppression
  • Labour exploitation
  • Recession in cultural identity and beliefs

✊ Causes for Decolonisation in Vietnam

There were a certain number of events and people that helped in freeing Vietnam from French exploitation. Below we’ve mentioned some significant events and people that helped-


  • First Indo-China War from 1946 to 1954 
  • Battle of Dien Bien Phu that was fought in 1954.
  • Signing of Geneva Accords in 1954.
  • Second Indo-China War from 1955-1975.
  • Re-unification of Vietnam in 1976

“Kiddos, I’ve answered all your queries with the utmost precision that I was capable of. Now, I’ll be taking my leave, but if you think I might have missed something, do check out the FAQ section or drop a comment. I always respond!

Also Read: What is Socialism? Definition, History, and Significance


How did Vietnam become colonized?

In 1858, French colonised Vietnam by defeating Vietnamese forces and establishing a protectorate over the country.

How does colonialism affect Vietnam?

People of Vietnam faced exploitation during the Colonialism. Also, its natural resources but also faced loss of cultural identity and autonomy.

Who has Vietnam been colonized by?

French colonised Vietnam from the year 1858 to 1954.


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