This eastern region was occupied in the 17th century by the Annamese, who in the 18th century absorbed the western provinces.
Taking in the suburban population the inhabitants numbered in 1905 about 1 io,000, including 103,000 Annamese, 2289 Chinese and 2665 French, exclusive of troops.
The Annamese are, however, a distinct race.
M.; its population at 1,500,000, of whom some three-quarters are Cambodians, the rest Chinese, Annamese, Chams, Malays, and aboriginal natives.
It supports a fishing population of over 30,000, most of whom are Annamese; the fish, which are taken by means of large nets at the end of the inundation, are either dried or fermented for the production of the sauce known as nuoc-mam.
The Cambodians have a far more marked affinity with their Siamese than with their Annamese neighbours.
The men are taller and more muscular than the Siamese and Annamese, while the women are small and inclined to stoutness.
Under French rule, which has modified the old usages in many respects, local government of the Annamese type tends to supplant this feudal system.
The rivalries of the two powers were concluded after a last and indecisive war by the treaty of 1846, as a result of which Ang-Duong, the protege of Siam, was placed on the throne at the capital of Oudong, and the Annamese evacuated the country.
The Annamese, or, to use the native term, the Giao-chi, are the predominant people not only in Annam but in the lowland and cultivated parts of Tongking and in CochinChina and southern Cambodia.
The Annamese is the worst-built and ugliest of all the IndoChinese who belong to the Mongolian race.
The Annamese of Cochin-China are weaker and smaller than those of Tongking, probably as a result of living amid marshy rice-fields.
The Annamese of both sexes wear wide trousers, a long, usually black tunic with narrow sleeves and a dark-coloured turban, or in the case of the lower classes, a wide straw hat; they either go bare-foot or wear sandals or Chinese boots.
The typical Annamese dwelling is open to the gaze of the passer-by during the day; at night a sort of partition of bamboo is let down.
Though fond of ease the Annamese are more industrious than the neighbouring peoples.
Like their neighbours the Cambodians and the Chinese, the Annamese have a great respect for the dead, and ancestor worship constitutes the national religion.
Like the Chinese the Annamese bury their dead.
In the midst of the Annamese live Cambodians and immigrant Chinese, the latter associated together according to the districts from which they come and carrying on nearly all the commerce of the country.
In the forests and mountains dwell tribes of savages, chiefly of Indonesian origin, classed by the Annamese under the name Mois or " savages."
Evidently derived from the Chinese, of which it appears to be a very ancient dialect, the Annamese language is composed of monosyllables, of slightly varied articulation, expressing different ideas according to the tone in which they are pronounced.
It is quite impossible to connect with our musical system the utterance of the sounds of which the Chinese and Annamese languages are composed.
Thence the difficulty of substituting our phonetic alphabet for the ideographic characters of the Chinese, as well as for the ideophonetic writing partly borrowed by the Annamese from the letters of the celestial empire.
By means of six accents, one bar and a crotchet it is possible to note with sufficient precision the indications of tone without which the Annamese words have no sense for the natives.
The Annamese village is self-governing.
When it is understood that there are over 30,000 Chinese, Annamese, Burmese and other Asiatic foreign subjects living in Siam, the importance to the country of this change will be to some extent realized.
Annamese learning goes no farther.
The Annamese mandarin must be acquainted with Chinese, since he writes in Chinese characters.
But the character being ideographic, the words which express them are dissimilar in the two languages, and official text is read in Chinese by a Chinese, in Annamese by an Annamese.
China, and in what is now Tongking and northern Annam, are regarded by the Annamese as their ancestors, and tradition ascribes to their first rulers descent from the Chinese imperial family.
Till this period the greater part of Annam had been occupied by the Chams, a nation of Hindu civilization, which has left many monuments to testify to its greatness, but the encroachment of the Annamese during the next six centuries at last left to it only a small territory in the south of the country.
In 1428 an Annamese general Le-Loi succeeded in freeing the country once more, and founded a dynasty which lasted till the end of the 18th century.