1905, Vietnam, Tonkin (French Protectorate). Zinc 1/600 Piastre Coin. PCGS MS63!
Mint Year: 1905 Mint Place: Paris Reference: KM-1. Denomination: 1/600 Piastre Condition: Certified and graded by PCGS as MS-63! Diameter: 25mm Weight: 2.1gm Material: Zinc
Obverse: Legend around central square hole. Date (1905) below, flanked by privy marks of the Paris mint. Legend: PROTECTORAT DU TONKIN (privy mark) 1905 (privy mark) Reverse: Three characters above central square hole. Another three characters around.
Tonkin, or Bắc Kỳ (北圻), was a French protectorate encompassing modern Northern Vietnam.
After helping to unify Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty, the French Navy began its heavy presence in the Mekong Delta and later colonised the southern third of Vietnam including Saigon in 1867. Central Vietnam later became the French protectorate of Annam and French influence in the Indochina Peninsula strengthened. During the Sino-French War (1884–85), the northernmost part of Vietnam, Tonkin (then considered a crucial foothold in Southeast Asia and a key to the Chinese market) was invaded by the French. After the Treaty of Tientsin, all of Vietnam was governed by the French.
During the French colonial administration, Vietnam was administratively divided into three different territories: Tonkin (in the north), Annam (in the centre), and the colony of Cochinchina (in the south). These territories were fairly arbitrary in their geographic extent as the vast majority of the Vietnamese regarded their country as a single land and minor resistance to French rule continued over the next 70 years to achieve an independent state. Annam and Tonkin were originally a single entity, the Résidence supérieure of Annam-Tonkin. On June 3, 1886, the Nguyễn Emperor Đồng Khánh delegated all of his powers in Tonkin to a Kinh luoc su (equivalent of Viceroy), who acted under French supervision. On May 9, 1889, the Résidence supérieure of Annam-Tonkin was abolished, with Annam and Tonkin being separated in two Résidences supérieures, each subordinated to the Governor-General of French Indochina. On July 26, 1897, Governor-General Paul Doumer had Emperor Thành Thái abolish the post of Kinh luoc su. Also the Nguyễn dynasty still nominally reigned over Tonkin, it was now de facto under direct French rule.
During French rule, Hanoi was made capital of Tonkin and, in 1901, of the whole French Indochina. Cities in Tonkin saw significant infrastructure and economic development under the French, such as the development of the port of Haiphong and construction of the Trans-Indochinois Railway linking Hanoi to Saigon. Under French economic plans, mines yielding gold, silver, and tin as well as the farming of rice, corn, and tea powered Tonkin's economy. The imports included rice, iron goods, flour, wine, opium and cotton goods. Industrialization later led to the opening of factories producing textiles and China for export throughout the French Empire. French cultural influence on Tonkin was also significant as French became the primary language of education, government, trade and media and heavy Catholic missionary activity resulted in almost 10% of the population identifying as Catholic by the 1940s. Prominent buildings in Hanoi were also constructed during the period of French rule, such as the Hanoi Opera House and the Hanoi University of Technology. By 1940, the total population of Annam was estimated at around 8 million.
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