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Indochina, political term for peninsular Southeast Asia between China and India. It was formerly French Indochina, and is now divided into Vietnam, Laos, and Kampuchea (Cambodia). The area contains two densely peopled, rice-rich deltas (Red River in the North, Mekong River in the south), separated by the Annamite mountain chain. Thais, Laos, and Annamese (Vietnamese) settled Indochina from the north. From the second century A.D., many states and cultures affected by India and China rose and fell there, including Funan, the Khmer Empire, Champa, and Annam. European penetration began in the 16th century. France concluded a treaty with Annam in 1787, annexed Cochin China in 1862, and by 1900 had welded separate states into the single political unit of French Indochina. World War II and militant nationalism destroyed France's authority and in 1949 Cambodia and Laos gained independence. The communist Vietminh drove the French out of Vietnam; the United States continued France's anticommunist role in the long Vietnam War, but by 1976 Indochina was effectively under communist control.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Humber, River to Indus Valley civilization