Former name (until 1950) for the eastern part of mainland Southeast Asia. The region now comprises the countries of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. After establishing its rule by 1893, France governed it through the Indochinese Union. During World War II it was occupied by Japan, but the French continued to administer it until the Japanese ousted them in 1945. After the Japanese surrender, the Viet Minh under Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Laos and Cambodia were reoccupied by the French, who founded the Indochinese Federation. The First Indochina war soon erupted, and the French ratified treaties (1949–50) that recognized Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia as independent states within the French Union. The area achieved full independence from France after the Geneva Conference of 1954.