Present disturbed relations between France and the republic of Vietnam add a special significance to the story of how near France came, in 1863 and 1864, to abandoning her colony in Cochinchina. It was by using as a base the three southern provinces of Cochinchina (Basse Cochinchine) which she had conquered from Annam that France subsequently established her protectorate over Cambodia, annexed the remaining three provinces of Cochinchina, and eventually extended her suzerainty over Annam, Tonkin, and Laos. Had she not decided to remain in Cochinchina, therefore, it is doubtful if she would have attained the rank, of an important imperial power in the Far East.

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