In November of 1873 a force of a few hundred men — French marine troops,’ Chinese regulars from Yunnan, and the sweepings of the ports of East Asia — took? the citadel of Hanoi and gave France the opportunity to add Tonkin to her possessions in Indochina. It was a bold venture, but hardly unplanned. The two most prominent figures in the affair, Jean Dupuis and Francis Garnier, had long been interested in opening southwest China by a direct route through actual or potential French territory, and Dupuis had been taking steps in this direction; since 1868. The attempt had the discreet — if not actually surreptitious — support of the current governor of Cochinchina, admiral Dupré. Yet by the end of December Francis Garnier was dead, his conquests in the Red River delta had been given back to the Vietnamese, and France's chief negotiator for the liquidation of the affair had branded the acts of Dupuis and Garnier as “odious aggression”. Dazzling victory turned into stunning defeat almost overnight, and France was to wait eight years before taking up the initiative of Dupuis and Garnier in Tonkin.