Indo-China and the French
How the South-East Asian peninsula had been shaped before French colonial rule.
Please note: this article is from a 1955 issue of History Today, and its language contains outdated terms and descriptions. Articles in our archive remain as they were printed, and do not reflect the current values of the magazine.
It is a pity that the word Indo-China, which Europe first gave to the South-East Asian peninsula, has recently been dismissed in favour of the purely geographical and strategic term now hallowed in the South-East Asia treaty; for Indo-China was a reminder of the two very different cultures that have moulded this region. Indeed, the external influence in the lands that came to be known as French Indo-China was more than cultural, since they were originally settled by peoples who had moved southwards from China. Chief among them were the Vietnamese and the Thais. Later there appeared tribes of south-west China (also often of Thai origin), who were still drifting into Indo-China as little as half a century ago.