Charles Thomson

Portrait of Charles   Thomson

Charles Louis Francis Thomson (13 Sep 1835, Algiers, 9 July 1898, Marseilles, France) was a French colonial administration high officer, Gouverneur de la Cochinchine from 18 Dec 1878, 'Plénipotentiaire de France en Annam et au Cambodge' from 8 March 1883, who wrestled out ouf of future King Norodom I, under the threat of deportation to Poulo-Condor island, the signature of a new Protectorate Treaty on 17 June 1884, which basically meant the annexation of Cambodia.

This coup de force provoked the Cambodian insurrection in 1885-1886, and Governor Thomson applied the same arbitrary use of power to the unrest in the Vietnamese territory of Hue, initiating a long string of colonial military abuse in Indochina. To his military and political duties, he cumulated several dubious activities such as Director of Saigon Opium Factory, and Tax Inspector for Annam and Tonkin from 1889 to 1894.

With the Résident Supérieur in Cambodia De Vernéville, Charles Thomson actively harassed Prince Duong Chakr, the third (or fifth) son of King Norodom, a firm opponent to the Protectorate Treaty, who had to flew to France and was finally exiled to Algeria with his wife on 26 Aug 1893.

Called back to France in 1895, Thomson served as ambassador to Copenhagen, and later on as Tax Inspector for two French circonscriptions.