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[Photos] A Glimpse of Turn-of-the-Century Indochina

France didn't colonize Vietnam overnight.

From infrastructure initiatives that included roads, bridges and dams to farming operations and marketplace architecture, France's decades-long dominion over its colony produced some profound changes but they took time. And before they could effectively modify urban and rural landscapes, they needed to survey it. Such exploration has resulted in a large number of photographs of the region taken by officials and hobbyists alike that reveal the country before it was significantly altered by European intrusion.

This collection of photos from 1899 focuses on both urban and agrarian settings. While shot in black and white, it's impossible to not recognize how they burst with greenery. One can practically smell the freshly tilled paddy muck and taste the brick dust wafting off of construction sites.

Get a glimpse of Vietnam as it was undergoing its transformation at the beginning of colonization in these photographs below:

French barracks on the outskirts of Hanoi.

Entrance to Quang Yen hospital.

Ngọc Sơn pagoda in Hanoi.

Hanoi Street.

Hồng River, Hanoi.

Hanoi citadel gate.

Hanoi Palace entry.

Hanoi watchtower.

Temple of Literature.

Temple of Literature.

Children's toy store in Hanoi.

Hanoi street.

River crossing in Quang Nhin.

Rural Quang Nhin.

Ethnic minority group.

Ethnic minority group.

Camp in Dinh Lap.

Village children in Quang Nhin. 

Buffalo at work in the fields.

Hanoi's bamboo streets.

Hanoi's Thủ Lệ Pagoda. 

Hanoi's Thủ Lệ Pagoda. 

Hanoi's porcelain street.

Basket merchants in Hanoi.

Chợ Lớn in modern-day Saigon.

Hàn River in Da Nang. 

Hai Phong.

Fish farming in Hanoi.

Rice farming in Hanoi.

Phu Than Hoai Road in Hanoi.

Citadel in Bac Nhin. 

Quang Yen.

Hai Phong.

Hai Phong.

Dragon costume procession in Hai Phong.

Dragon costume procession in Hai Phong.

Coast in Hai Phong.

Gunboat construction in Hai Phong.

Gunboat construction in Hai Phong.

Pavilion construction in Hai Phong. 


"Anam woman in Tonkin."

"Anam woman."


[Photos via Flickr user Manhhai]

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