Are There Still French Plantations In Vietnam?

credit: Yay

The French were colonists and sought to colonize many countries throughout South America, Africa, and Asia, which included Vietnam. Therefore, one of the best ways they could exploit Vietnam was by making rubber plantations, as the climate in Vietnam is perfect for rubber trees.

Although the French were responsible for building many plantations while they colonized Vietnam, they no longer operate or own any plantations in Vietnam. Sadly, the French plantations in Vietnam have been destroyed or repurposed by the government.

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Are The French Plantations Still In Use

All of the plantations left by the french were all either destroyed or were left abandoned by the french. However, some of the plantations were reused for other means or just demolished by the Vietnamese for other constructions.

It is worth noting, however, that the french also made different types of plantations other than rubber, the most notable of which were rice. In 1880, the land used to grow rice nearly quadrupled in under 20 years.

In the 1930s, Indochina produced 60,000 tons of rubber annually or 5% of the world’s total. In addition, the French established mines and factories in Vietnam to exploit the country’s abundant coal, tin, and zinc resources.

What Happened To The French Rubber Plantations In Vietnam

In 1925 the french erected a rubber plantation in Bình Dương, Vietnam, run by the Michelin company. And around 31 thousand acres of land were taken over for rubber trees to be planted and harvested in a district in Dầu Tiếng in the Province of Bình Dương, about 44 miles (72 kilometers) northwest of Saigon.

Dầu Tiếng 1951 - Michelin Rubber Plantation
manhhai / Flickr Dầu Tiếng 1951 – Michelin Rubber Plantation – Dau-Tieng (formerly Dinh-Tanh) heveas plantation in Vietnam, 50 miles north of Saigon, is one of the most important areas of Viet-minh attacks against the French. This plantation, property of the French rubber manufacturer Michelin covers 10 square kilometers. 7 1/2 kilometers are planted with rubber trees of which only 3 are exploited because of a lack of manpower. Shown here is life on the plantation, Feb. 26, 1951.

Around 1960, The Michelin company’s Rubber Production started rapidly declining due to the war between the US and Vietnam. Things were looking bad for the french as they had to pay the Vietnamese government to keep production going during the war between Vietnam and the US.

However, as rubber production started declining, the US government had no use for rubber plantations. They didn’t have the expertise to run a rubber plant or the army forces to run such a facility inside an enemy’s territory.

Therefore, the United States government instead decided to lay waste and destroy the rubber plantations. The intention behind it was to expose and obstruct supply chains in Vietnam, hindering the Vietnamese finances.

Are There Still Any French Plantation Owners In Vietnam

Once Vietnam earned its independence on September 2, 1945, most of the French were forced to leave North Vietnam as the government nationalized all productional means. Between 1954 and 1955, it is estimated that around 1 million people moved from north Vietnam to the south.

During this time, the Vietnamese communist government grew more powerful as they acquired more and more territory, which killed any hope for the french to keep their businesses open. Therefore because the french were losing production between 1972 and 1976, they were pushed out of Vietnam, and most returned home.

Rubber Production In Vietnam Today

Rubber production in Vietnam did recover after the downfall in 1970. It started experiencing a boom in output as rubber became a commodity used worldwide. Rubber is used for tires, medical equipment, plumbing, and many more.

Today rubber trees are the most valuable crop planted in Vietnam, as they produce nearly 2 million metric tons of rubber annually, around 3 billion USD. Moreover, Vietnam’s rubber production is some of the world’s most significant as it is the third-largest country to produce and distribute rubber.

Vietnam also uses these rubber trees to make furniture from rubber wood. The estimated value of the rubber wood exported by Vietnam is around 2.3 billion USD.

Rice Production In Vietnam Today

Rice production in Vietnam is booming as they produce nearly 43 million metric tons of rice annually, growing by around 2.6 percent yearly. Moreover, Vietnam’s Rice production is some of the world’s most significant as it is the 5th largest Rice production country worldwide.

The most significant rice production in Vietnam is located in the Mekong River Delta in southern Vietnam. This is because all the rice grown there is wet rice which refers to the style of farming, which means the rice is completely flooded by water. Therefore The Mekong River Delta is the perfect place for this farming style.

What Impact Did France Make On Vietnam

The French made a massive impact on the lifestyle of Vietnam, which were mainly bad; however, some good did come from it. Therefore, to justify the actions of the French, they convinced themselves that it was for a good cause as it was “civilizing” the people, and they called it the “civilizing mission.”

The civilizing mission was carried out in other countries outside Vietnam, mainly South American, African, and Asian countries.

Millions of Vietnamese were forced or sometimes lured in with false promises to support the French colonists. The French seized vast tracts of land and transformed them into new plantations where the Vietnamese were forced to work. The Vietnamese who owned small parcels of land were given a choice to remain and work on the plantations or to leave and move elsewhere.

Numerous farmers in Vietnam were recruited from other parts of the country to deal with the shortage of workers. At times they were conscripted under threat of violence, and at other times they came voluntarily, lured by false promises of high wages.

The workers would work all day, sometimes working for more than 15 hours without any breaks, and little to no food and water were given to the workers. The French government forbade the colonialists from laying out punishments for the workers. However, this law was only followed by a few and often beat people who were slow and reluctant to work.

During the colonization, the French destroyed ancient traditional buildings like temples and monuments. And instead, in their place, the French built french architecture and renamed streets to french names. If it weren’t for the people and the humidity, some parts of Saigon and Hanoi could have been mistaken for Paris.

The Heavy Taxation Burden The Vietnamese Faced

Additionally, the French imposed a heavy tax burden on the Vietnamese people. This included levies on the weighing and measuring agricultural goods, a poll tax on all adult males, stamp duties on various publications, and levies on workers’ income.

One of the biggest problems the Vietnamese faced during the colonization was the taxation the French put on local commodities like rice, wine, and salt. Most Vietnamese made their own rice wine and gathered the salt themselves. However, the French started selling these commodities at highly inflated prices.

However, the worst was the sale of opium, which the French sold to the Vietnamese as a highly addictive drug. The opium was extracted from poppies and distributed to many Vietnamese to make them addicted to the drug and then sold across Vietnam. With these Three commodities alone, the French made over 5 billion USD by today’s standards.

The Good That Came From The French In Vietnam

However, although the French did cause much harm, the colonizing did bring some good to the Vietnamese. For example, the French brought many technological advancements like education and made railway systems to every major city in Vietnam.

They also made significant educational advancements in Vietnam as French officials, missionaries, and their families opened up different primary schools across Vietnam. Colonialists initially founded the University of Hanoi in the year 1902. Still, it has since become one of Vietnam’s most prestigious educational institutions.

The French built railroads from each major city in Vietnam, which are still used today, although not used for the purpose they were made. This is because the railroads were severely damaged by bombs dropped by American aircraft. Therefore, they can no longer be used for transportation between major cities and instead are used as a cheap way of transportation and tourist attraction.