“At the end of the First Indochina War ethnic minority people migrated in both directions–north and south of the seventeenth parallel. According to CIA figures, about 10,000 Muongs (members of a northern hill tribe) went south at the time of the Geneva Accords. The same was true of 55,000 Nungs; these were not primitive tribesmen but members of a group that originated in China and migrated to Vietnam in the seventeenth century. At the same time, the CIA estimated that approximately 10,000 indigenous people from the Central Highlands had regrouped north. About 5,000 of them were from the Rhade, generally considered the most educated and politically sophisticated of the Highland tribes; these migrants included four of the five qualified Rhade doctors.”
– Vietnam’s High Ground: Armed Struggle for the Central Highlands, 1954-1965 by JP Harris
“Diem’s policy toward the indigenous Highlanders, at least in the beginning, was not consciously harsh or exploitative. Rather, it was paternalistic and assimilatory. Diem’s government wanted the Highlanders to improve their agricultural methods, take and active part in the economic development of their region, and participate in his government’s administrative apparatus there. He wanted them to drop their traditional way of life (by Vietnamese standards, primitive and inferior) and become civilized. Ultimately he wanted them to abandon their separate tribal identities and to become culturally Vietnamese.”
– Vietnam’s High Ground: Armed Struggle for the Central Highlands, 1954-1965 by JP Harris, page 34-35.
“In the second half of the nineteenth century Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia all fell under French rule, and the Nguyen Dynasty’s emperors became no more than puppets of the French. The French conquest began under Napoleon III, whose forces captured Saigon in 1859. By 1867 the French had taken control of the whole of Cochin China, roughly the southern third of Vietnam. They also secured a protectorate over Cambodia. The French conquest of Vietnam was completed under the Third Republic, after the fall of Napoleon III’s Second Empire during the Franco-German War of 1870-1871. In 1883 France used military force to get Emperor Tu Duc to accept a protectorate over the rest of Vietnam. In 1893 the French rounded off their empire in Indochina by establishing a protectorate over Laos. Although Cochin China was technically a colony and the rest of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos were protectorates, the French endeavored to establish a fairly unified administrative system throughout the area they ruled.”
– Vietnam’s High Ground: Armed Struggle for the Central Highlands, 1954-1965 by JP Harris, page 2.