The first Frenchmen to penetrate this beautiful and tragic country had been Jesuit missionaries arriving in the 16th century. Their missions were established in Cochin China, the name for the southernmost province of Vietnam. Despite periods of savage persecution and suppression, the Christian communities continued to grow. In later years, the missionaries were followed by French traders who attempted, with varying success, to establish trading posts along the coast. They, too, encountered periods of hostility—and were sometimes expelled completely. In 1858, a French military expedition was sent to Cochin China to protect the Roman Catholic missionaries and their converts. Once established there militarily, the French did not leave. Five years later they spread their control to neighbouring Cambodia. With the French controlling Cochin China and the Black Flags controlling Tonkin, only the central province, Annam, retained any freedom.
Link to an interesting and unique blog titled War and Game read the full post Steadfast Were The Entruders (here)
Fr. Alexandre de Rhodes, S.J. facinating reading, facinating priest (here)