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40 Color Photos That Show What Vietnam Was Like in 1914

Ian Smith
Marchande de riz, 1914-1915

This versatile and perfectly compiled collection of color photos depicting the North Vietnam from 1914 to 1917 was taken by Albert Khan, a French banker, and philanthropist, known for initiating The Archives of the Planet, a vast photographical project. Spanning 22 years, it resulted in a collection of 72,000 colour photographs and 183,000 meters of film.

In 1909, Kahn traveled with his chauffeur and photographer, Alfred Dutertre to Japan on business and returned with many photographs of the journey. This prompted him to begin a project collecting a photographic record of the entire Earth. He appointed Jean Brunhes as the project director and sent photographers to every continent to record images of the planet using the first practical medium for color photography, Autochrome plates, and early cinematography. Between 1909 and 1931 they collected 72,000 color photographs and 183,000 meters of film. These form a unique historical record of 50 countries, known as The Archives of the Planet.

Kahn’s photographers began documenting France in 1914, just days before the outbreak of World War I, and by liaising with the military managed to record both the devastation of war, and the struggle to continue everyday life and agricultural work.

The bellow photos depict Vietnam at the outbreak of First World War, that time Vietnam was a part  of French Indochina. While seeking to maximize the use of Indochina’s natural resources and manpower to fight the war, France cracked down all patriotic movements in Vietnam. The country remained a member of the French Empire, and many Vietnamese fought later in World War I.

A district chief and district authorities gathered at the town hall, 1915

A district chief and district authorities gathered at the town hall, 1915, Photos: Albert Khan

 

 

 

 

A district chief reading a patent Imperial, 1916

A district chief reading a patent Imperial, 1916 Photos: Albert Khan

A Hanoi girl, 1914-15

A Hanoi girl, 1914-15, Photos: Albert Khan

 

A local authority in hearing ordinary costume, 1916

A local authority in hearing ordinary costume, 1916 Photos: Albert Khan

 

 

A North Vietnamse girl whose teeth are tinted black, 1915

A North Vietnamse girl whose teeth are tinted black, 1915 Photos: Albert Khan

A nun and two novices, circa 1916

A nun and two novices, circa 1916. Photos: Albert Khan

 

Actor and actress, Hanoi-Tonkin, 1915

Actor and actress, Hanoi-Tonkin, 1915. Photos: Albert Khan

 

An elder village notable near Hanoi, 1920

An elder village notable near Hanoi, 1920.Photos: Albert Khan

 

Baie d'Halong, 1915

Baie d’Halong, 1915 Photos: Albert Khan

Banane Hanoi, 1915

Banane Hanoi, 1915. Photos: Albert Khan

 

Buddhist Temple on the road to Tam Dao, June 4, 1916

Buddhist Temple on the road to Tam Dao, June 4, 1916. Photos: Albert Khan

 

Chaloupe Chinoise, 1915

Chaloupe Chinoise, 1915. Photos: Albert Khan

 

Group of Tonkin girls, 1916

Group of Tonkin girls, 1916.Photos: Albert Khan

 

Group of Tonkin girls, 1916

Group of Tonkin girls, 1916.  Photos: Albert Khan

 

Haiphong, 1915

Haiphong, 1915.Photos: Albert Khan

 

Hanoi, sampans and Paul Doumer Bridge, 1915

Hanoi, sampans and Paul Doumer Bridge, 1915/Photos: Albert Khan

 

Hongay, 1915

Hongay, 1915

 

Le Pont Paul Doumer, Hanoi, 1915

Le Pont Paul Doumer, Hanoi, 1915

 

Making betel quid, about Hanoi, 1916

Making betel quid, about Hanoi, 1916

Mandarin militaire, mandarin chef de province et préfet en costume d’audience solennelle, 1915

Mandarin militaire, mandarin chef de province et préfet en costume d’audience solennelle, 1915

 

Marchand de sentences, Hanoi, 1915

Marchand de sentences, Hanoi, 1915

 

Marchande de riz, 1914-1915

Marchande de riz, 1914-1915

 

Marché de Bac Lè, 1915

Marché de Bac Lè, 1915

 

Mine de cuivre, 1915

Mine de cuivre, 1915

 

Mine de Hong Gay, 1918-1921

Mine de Hong Gay, 1918-1921

 

Prêtresse des 3 mondes, 1915

Prêtresse des 3 mondes, 1915

 

Priestess of the cult of the 3 worlds, 1916

Priestess of the cult of the 3 worlds, 1916

 

Rue du Chanvre, Hanoi, 1915 (Hemp street)

Rue du Chanvre, Hanoi, 1915 (Hemp street)

 

Rue Paul Bert, Hanoi, 1914-1915

Rue Paul Bert, Hanoi, 1914-1915

 

Sampan en baie d'Halong, 1916

Sampan en baie d’Halong, 1916

The Governor of Tonkin and his family, 1915

The Governor of Tonkin and his family, 1915

 

The highlands on the border of China, Na-Cham village

The highlands on the border of China, Na-Cham village

 

Tinsmiths' Street, Hanoi, 1915

Tinsmiths’ Street, Hanoi, 1915

 

Tonkin - Hanoi Two opium smokers drinking tea, 1915

Tonkin – Hanoi Two opium smokers drinking tea, 1915

 

Two opium smokers, 1915

Two opium smokers, 1915

 

Two young girls wearing the non-ba tam

Two young girls wearing the non-ba tam

 

Un étalage de jouets en fer blanc vendus au moment de la fête des enfants, 1915

 

Un lettré lisant environ de Hanoi, 1915

 

 

Village actors, Hanoi, May June 1916

Village actors, Hanoi, May June 1916

 

Village chief smoking a water pipe, 1916

Village chief smoking a water pipe, 1916

 

Woman Smoking Opium, Hanoi - French Indochina circa 1915

Woman Smoking Opium, Hanoi – French Indochina circa 1915

 

Young girls play the pawns in a human chess match, 1920

Young girls play the pawns in a human chess match, 1920