The diverse cultures of what would eventually become French Indochina traced their roots to pre-modern kingdoms and empires.
Indochina, originally Indo-China, is a geographical term originating in the early 19th century for the continental portion of the region now known as Southeast Asia. The name refers to the lands historically within the cultural influence of India and China and physically bound by India in the west and China in the north. It corresponds to the present-day areas of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and (variably) peninsular Malaysia. The term was later adopted as the name of the colony of French Indochina (today’s Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos), and the entire area of Indochina is now usually referred to as the Indochinese Peninsula or Mainland Southeast Asia.