Despite the long history of French presence in Vietnam going back to the beginning of the seventeenth century, major French territorial conquests had to await the second half of the nineteenth century. As noted in Chapter 5, successive French governments had demonstrated a consistent interest in proselytization, which had resulted by the end of the eighteenth century in about a quarter-million Vietnamese converts, mostly in the coastal provinces. With the possible exception of Gia Long’s personal relationship with Bishop Pigneau de Behaine, the missionaries (even during Gia Long’s rule) did not enjoy the trust of the Vietnamese monarchs. De Behaine was posthumously made a duke of Vietnam, but his role in converting the young prince Canh (Gia Long’s son) during his visit to France was neither forgotten nor forgiven. The numbers of Vietnamese Christians dwindled during Gia Long’s rule by 60 percent.