could 5000 europeans reall have conquered viet-nam in the 1820s?

Dec 2012
I was reading an old book about early 19th century Vietnam were the author John Crawfurd claimed that despite Vietnam being the most advanced of the Asian kingdoms, it would be more easily conquered than lets say Thailand or Burma. Infact he claims 5000 euro soldiers plus a few ships could conquer the place.

Is this all absolute garbage? Because I remember it was extremely painful for the French to conquer Vietnam, and this was when they had much better weapons


Ad Honorem
Oct 2015
Matosinhos Portugal
Maybe yes, but the Asian climate probably did not help the French.
Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho: "If I knew how the country was going to get poorer, and if I had active with 800 military officers I would take care of portugal.
In favor of the climate is the same.


Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
well the French spent 2 years stalemated at Saigon and Da Nang
Not French at all.. Spanish and French... this a forum about history not about tales...50% army was Spanish.. so Spanish and French or if you prefer French and Spanish...
Sep 2013
planet earth
vietnam in the 1820's was not a unified country, the khmer was still in control of the south. the cham had a large presence in the country. if the so called 5000 european army allied themselves with the khmer and cham. if they armed and trained the khmer/cham army, then yes they might have a good crack at trying to conquer vietnam.

but a 5000 european army by themselves would'nt have a chance at conquering vietnam.
Jan 2016
United States, MO
Where does the author get the idea that Vietnam is the most advanced Asian country in the 1820s?

It may be possible to succeed with so few troops if everything went perfectly. But things never really go so smooth.
Dec 2012
John Crawfurd cites the armies trained by the French, the Naval buildup, and the well engineered fortresses as proof of being the most advanced Asian country