China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong: historical events
China-Opium War 1839-42
Japanese modernisat’n 1853-90
‘Unequal’ Trade Treaties
China Boxer Rebellion 1899-1901
Russia-Japan War 1904-05
Japan-China War 1931-38
World War Two 1939-45
North & South Korea post-World War Two – see Appendix One
Korean War 1950-53
1/1/2016, The two-child policy took effect in China, allowing couples in the country to have at most two children, replacing the controversial one-child policy. The change in law was announced by the ruling Communist Party on October 29 and passed the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on December 27, five days prior to its effect.
12/8/2015, A large explosion in Tianjin, China, destroyed a warehouse containing several hundred tons of hazardous chemicals. At least 50 died and over 700 injured.
15/12/2014, In Hong Kong police cleared away the barricades set up in September 2014 by pro-democracy demonstrators who were demanding free elections without preliminary screening of the candidates by Beijing. The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, had won against the Occupy Central movement, but popular discontent, by young educated students from affluent families remained.
24/8/2008, The Beijing Olympics closed.
8/8/2008, The Beijing Olympics opened. They continued until 24/8/2008.
20/5/2006, The Three Gorges Dam in China was completed, the world’s largest hydro-electric dam.
4/12/2005, 250,000 people in Hong Kong protested for democracy.
12/9/2005, The Hong Kong Disneyland resort officially opened.
18/8/2005, Peace Mission 2005, the first joint Chinese-Russian military exercise, began an 8-day programme on the Shandong Peninsula.
1/6/2003, China began filling the Three Gorges Dam, raising the water level by over 100 metres.
27/12/2001, China was granted permanent normal trade status with the USA.
10/11/2001. China joined the World Trade Organisation, following 15 years of negotiations.
16/7/2001, China and Russia signed a treaty of friendship.
20/12/1999, Macau was handed back to China by Portugal.
9/5/1999, Widespread protests in cities across China over the US accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia.
20/1/1999, China announced restrictions on Internet use, aimed especially at Internet cafes.
26/11/1998, Japan and China signed a joint declaration of friendship and economic development.
6/7/1998, The new airport at Chek Lai Kok, Hong Kong, opened.
8/11/1997, The main channel of China’s Yangtze River was blocked as construction work continued on the Three Gorges Dam.
1/7/1997. Hong Kong was handed back to China.
19/2/1997, The last of the Chinese revolutionaries, Deng Xiaoping, died aged 92 (born 1904); weeks of mourning followed.
29/8/1996. British forces began to leave Hong Kong.
16/5/1995, Japanese police besieged the headquarters of the Aum Shrnrinko cult near Mount Fuji, and arrested the leader Shoko Asuhara.
20/3/1995. Nerve gas was released on the Tokyo Subway by the Ayum Shrinkyo religious cult. Five separate trains were affected; 12 died and 5,500 were injured.
3/9/1994, The USSR and China agreed to stop targeting nuclear missiles at each other.
27/3/1993, Ziang Zemin became President of the People’s Republic of China.
3/3/1993. Rolls Royce announced plans to open a showroom in China.
9/7/1992, Chris Patten, last British Governor of Hong Kong, took office; the colony was to be handed back to China in 1997.
23/5/1991, Chinese authorities marked the 40th anniversary of their ‘liberation’ of Tibet with low-key celebrations..
12/11/1990, Crown Prince Akihito became the 125th Japanese monarch and Emperor.
9/10/1990. Hundreds of Chinese queued to buy Big Macs when McDonalds opened its first restaurant in Shenzhen.
13/1/1990, China lifted martial law, imposed 11 months earlier after the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.
24/7/1989, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party suffered its first defeat in 30 years, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister Sosuke Uno. A scandal involving Uno’s former mistress ruined his career.
22/6/1989, In China, seven students were shot after televised show trials following the Tiananmen Square protests.
21/6/1989 The first public executions of Tiananmen Square demonstrators began in China.
9/6/1989, In China, the show trials of the leaders of the Tiananmen Square demonstration began.
4/6/1989. Massacre in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, as troops opened fire and brought in tanks. On early morning Sunday 4th June the army entered the Square. 2,600 were killed and 10,000 injured as soldiers fired on demonstrators, and tanks drove over them.
14/5/1989, Gorbachev visited China, the first Soviet leader to do so since the 1960s.
2/5/1989, China imposed martial law as pro-democracy protestors camped in Tiananmen Square.
17/4/1989. Chinese students demonstrated in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, calling for democracy.
8/3/1989, China declared martial law in Tibet.
7/3/1989. Chinese troops fired on Tibetan monks and civilians demanding independence in Lhasa. Some reports said hundreds died. China annexed Tibet in 1950, and protests for Tibetan independence had been growing since 1985.
7/1/1989. Emperor Hirohito of Japan died, aged 87. He had ruled for more than 62 years. 500,000 people lined the streets for his funeral on 24/2/1989; US & British war veterans protested that their countries should not honour a war criminal. Hirohito had opposed war with the USA in the 1930s, he was also against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and Japan’s alliance with Nazi Germany. In 1941 he proposed peace with Washington, but was persuaded by the War Minister and his generals to hit Pearl Harbour. He was buried near his father’s mausoleum in the Imperial Palace Gardens in Japan; his son Akihito succeeded him.
12/4/1988. China’s National People’s Congress voted to allow private enterprise and the transfer of use of land between private individuals. They did not, however, allow outright private ownership of land.
10/3/1988, The Chinese Army occupied Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, after large anti-Chinese demonstrations by Tibetans.
13/1/1988. Chiang Ching Kuo, President of Taiwan since 1978, died.
13/4/1987, Portugal and China agreed to the return of Macao to China in 1999.
12/10/1986, Queen Elizabeth II visited China, the first British monarch to visit the country.
21/11/1985, Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev ended their meeting with an agreement to reduce their nuclear arsenals by a mutual 50%.
19/11/1985. Reagan and Gorbachev met in Geneva, the first such meeting for 6 years.
6/8/1985, In Hiroshima, tens of thousands marked the 40th anniversary of the bombing of the city.
17/3/1985, Expo '85, World's Fair, opened at Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. It ran until September 16.
19/12/1984. Mrs Thatcher signed an agreement to return Hong Kong to China in 1997.
26/9/1984, China and the UK signed an initial agreement to hand Hong Kong back to China in 1997.
1983, China launced the Anti Spiritual Pollution Campaign, with the (initial) approval of Deng Xiaoping. It was an attempt to roll back economic reform and Western influence. Individualism and hedonism were condemned, as were academics who promoted alternatives to Communism.
15/4/1983, The first non-American Disney theme park opened, near Tokyo.
25/1/1981. The Chinese ‘Gang of Four’ and Mao Tse Tung’s 67 year old widow were sentenced to death.
3/4/1979, China warned the USSR it would not seek to renew the 1950 Treaty of Friendship when it expired in1980.
17/2/1979, China launched an invasion of northern Vietnam. China had backed North Vietnam during the Vietnam war with the US-backed South, but since Hanoi’s victory in 1975, North Vietnam had aligned with the Soviet Union, and in January 1979 North Vietnam invaded Cambodia and ousted the Pol Pot regime, which China backed.
1/1/1979. Diplomatic relations were established between China and the USA.
12/8/1978, China and Japan signed a 10-year friendship treaty
22/7/1977. The ‘Gang of Four’ were expelled from the Chinese Communist Party.
2/7/1977, In China Deng Xiaoping, 73, was restored to power.
11/10/1976. In China the ‘Gang of Four’ were arrested, accused of plotting a coup.
9/9/1976. Mao Tse Tung, Chairman of the Chinese Communist party for 40 years, died of a series of strokes, aged 82.
8/1/1976, Zhou En Lai, Chinese revolutionary and Prime Minister of China, 1949-76, died. Aged 77, he was succeeded by Hua Goufeng.
8/8/1975, The Banqiao Dam in China failed during a freak typhoon, killing over 200,000 people.
5/4/1975. The Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai Shek died in Taiwan, aged 87.
14/9/1974. China sent two giant pandas, Chia-Chia and Ching-Ching, to London Zoo.
6/9/1974. At least one Japanese soldier was reported to be still roaming the forests of the central Philippines, left behind after World War Two.
29/3/1974, Chinese peasants digging a well unearthed a terracotta army of 8,000 figures and horses, buried over 2,000 years ago near Xi’an. They belonged to Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, who first united China and built the Great Wall. The artisans who built the tomb were walled up within it, to safeguard its secrets.
10/3/1974, A Japanese soldier was found hiding on Lubang Island in the Philippines; he believed World War Two was ongoing and was waiting for relief by his own side.
8/1973, The Chinese Communist Party launched the ‘Anti-Confucian Campaign’. The radical supporters of Mao Zedong ostensibly wanted to continue the suppression of traditional, anti-Communist, ideas, hence the name of the campaign. In fact it was an attack on the more moderate supporters of Zhou Enlai, who (just as Confucius attempted to restore traditional practices such as feudalism) wanted to water down the Cultural Revolution and rehabilitate pruged Party officials.
3/3/1972, Beijing, at a UN speech, claimed the territory of Hong Kong.
25/10/1971, China was admitted to the United Nations; Taiwan was expelled from the UN to accommodate this.
5/10/1971, Emperor Hirohito of Japan arrived in Britain on a tour of Europe. He was the first Japanese sovereign to leave Japan for over 2,000 years. He left the UK on 7/10/1971.
13/9/1971, Lin Paio, 65, Chinese Defence Minister who led an abortive coup against Mao Tse Tung, died in a plane crash in Mongolia as he attempted to escape.
25/11/1970, The Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima harangued 1,000 troops on the disgrace of losing World War Two, then tried to persuade them to form a private army and launch a military coup. When he realised this was not going to happen, Mishima committed seppuku, ritual suicide.
2/3/1969. Soviet and Chinese troops clashed on their border.
13/10/1968, The Chinese Cultural Revolution ended when President Liu was dismissed from his posts in the Party and the Republic. The Cultural Revolution (see 3/9/1965), encouraging a return to basic Maoist principles, but also public criticism of all party members, had been too disruptive to China’s government and economy.
23/1/1968, The USS Pueblo, an intelligence ship, and its 89 man crew was seized by the North Koreans in the Sea of Japan.
15/10/1967. Henry Pu Yi, the last emperor of China from the age of 2, died in Peking aged 61.
17/6/1967. China exploded its first hydrogen bomb. This raised tensions between China and the USSR.
8/1/1967, Rioting in Shanghai, China, as workers went on strike.
13/8/1966. Chairman Mao of China announced a 'cultural revolution'. On 18/8/1966 Mao appeared on the gallery of the Tiananmen Gate in Peking to a crowd of over a million Red Guards. Then the student Red Guards spread out into China to radicalise the towns and countryside.
1965, Tibet was officially made an ‘aitonomous region’ of China.
3/9/1965, The Cultural Revolution began in China. A reassertion of Maoist principles, it began with a speech by Marshal Lin Piao urging pupils in schools and colleges to return to the basics of the Chinese Revolution and to purge liberal and Kruschevian trends in the Chinese Communist Party. See 13/10/1968.
13/8/1965, Ikeda Hayato, Prime Minister of Japan, died.
1/8/1965, General Lo Jui-ching, the Chief of Joint Staff of the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, declared that the Chinese were ready to fight the United States again, as they had in the Korean War.
22/6/1965, The Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea was signed in Tokyo, almost twenty years after South Korea had been liberated from the Japanese Empire.
1964, Japan joined the OECD.
16/10/1964, China exploded a nuclear weapon at Lop Nor.
3/2/1964. China challenged the USSR for leadership of the Communist world.
27/1/1964. France recognised Communist China.
9/11/1963, A mining disaster at Omuta, Japan, killed 442.
1/9/1963, About 100,000 people in two Japanese cities demonstrated against the presence of American nuclear submarines.
21/11/1962, Ceasefire in the India-China border dispute.
20/10/1962, Chinese troops attacked Indian border positions.
8/9/1962. China-India border dispute escalated. China attacked Indian border posts on 20/10/1962. On 28/10/1962 the USA pledged to send arms to India.
17/5/1962, Hong Kong built a wall to keep out Chinese migrants.
21/1/1962 . In Communist China it was revealed that only ‘registered addicts ‘ were allowed to buy or smoke cigarettes.
1960, The San Men Dam, Hunag He (Yellow) River, China, was completed.
27/4/1960. Synghman Rhee resigned as President of South Korea.
28/11/1959, The dockyard at Hong Kong closed, after 80 years of operation.
22/9/1959. The United Nations refused to admit Communist China.
19/4/1959, The Dalai Lama arrived in India.
31/3/1959, The Dalai Lama escaped to India. Tibet lost its independence to China in 1951.
28/3/1959, China dissolved the government of Tibet.
2/9/1958. The first television station in China opened in Beijing.
9/8/1958. The USA reaffirmed its refusal to recognise Red China.
31/7/1958. Kham tribesmen in eastern Tibet rebelled against Chinese rule
9/2/1957, Poland and Japan resumed diplomatic relations.
7/1/1957. President Khrushchev of the USSR welcomed China’s Prime Minister Chou En Lai. Behind the scenes, however, there was rivalry between the two countries. The USSR supported Manchurian and Vietnamese Communists, and there were differences on how Communism should be enforced. However Chou En Lai supported the USSR’s crackdown in 1956 in Hungary.
31/12/1956, 90% of Chinese farms had been re-organised into collectives, with land, implements and animals owned collectively, not privately.
18/12/1956. Japan joined the United Nations.
3/1/1956, The USSR gave technical aid to China.
8/5/1955. Hiroshima victims arrived in the USA for plastic surgery.
31/3/1955, The Communist Party in China was purged.
16/2/1955, Nearly 100 died in a fire at a home for the elderly in Yokohama, Japan.
8/3/1954, The US and Japan signed a mutual defence pact.
25/10/1952, The USA blocked the entry of China to the United Nations for the third year running. See 25/10/1971.
5/8/1952, Japan and China resumed diplomatic relations.
28/4/1952. Japan regained sovereignty.
26/10/1951, The Chinese news agency Xinhua announced that the Tibetan people had been ‘liberated from imperialist aggression and returned to the great family of the People’s Republic of China’
9/9/1951, Chinese troops occupied the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.
8/9/1951, The San Francisco Treaty of Friendship between the US and Japan was signed.
25/3/1951, China issued an ultimatum to Tibet, to choose between ‘peaceful liberation’ or ‘military annihilation’. Tibet chose to sign the 17-Point Agreement with China on 24/5/1951.
25/12/1950. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in the wake of the Chinese invasion.
13/11/1950, Tibet appealed to the UN for aid against Chinese aggression.
21/10/1950. Chinese forces occupied Tibet.
17/10/1950, Chinese troops took Chamdo, opening up the way to central Tibet.
7/10/1950, 30,000 Chinese troops entered Tibet, meeting little opposition. 30,000 well trained and equipped Chinese troops confronted a Tibetan army of fewer than 4,000 trained soldiers.
1/3/1950. Chiang Kai Shek became President in Formosa (Taiwan).
27/2/1950, China and the USSR signed a joint agreement for exploiting oil in Sinkiang, for joint mining operations, and joint operation of a civil airline.
14/2/1950. China and the USSR signed a 30-year pact in Moscow.
1/1/1950, Radio Beijing announced that Tibet was to be ‘liberated’.
8/12/1949, Taipei, Taiwan, was formally chosen as the capital of Nationalist China. Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalist Government fled to Taiwan from China to escape the advancing Communists.
20/10/1949, Britain recognised the People’s Republic of China, under Chairman Mao.
6/10/1949, The USA granted South Korea US$ 10.2 million for military aid and US$ 110 million for economic aid for the year 1950.
1/10/1949. The Chinese Communists set up a government in Peking, The People’s Republic of China, under Mao. Taiwan remained independent. Chinese Party Chairman Mao Tse Tung made no secret of the fact that he considered Tibet part of China.
2/9/1949, The redistribution of land became an official part of Chinese Communist policy.
30/7/1049, The HMS Amethyst successfully sailed 140 miles down the Yangtse River overnight to escape Chinese Communist forces, see 20/4/1949.
26/5/1949. Chinese Communists captured Shanghai.
23/5/1949. Chinese Communists drove the Nationalists off the mainland to Taiwan.
20/4/1949, The HMS Amethyst was fired upon by Chinese whilst sailing up the Yangtse River with supplies for the British community in Nanking. She was trapped until the night of 30/7/1949 when she successfully sailed downriver 140 miles, under fire from further Chinese forces.
22/1/1949 The Chinese Communists under Mao Tse Tung captured Peking. The Nationalists under Chaing Kai Shek were defeated at Huai Hai north of Beijing.
21/1/1949, Chiang Kai Shek resigned
15/1/1949. Chinese Communists captured Tientsin.
23/12/1948, Hideki Tojo, Japanese Prime Minister 1941-44, who attacked Pearl Harbour and so provoked the entry of the USA into the War, was hanged as a war criminal.
14/12/1948, South Korea formed a Department of National Defence.
29/10/1948, Chinese Communist forces captured the important city of Mukden, and its arsenal, from Kuomintang forces.
1/9/1948. The North China People’s Republic was formed by the Communists, under Chairman Mao.
4/11/1946. US and China signed a friendship pact.
10/10/1946, In China the Kuomintang re-elected Chiang Kai Shek as President.
27/1/1946, In the Far East, more than 2,000 airmen went on strike at the slow pace of demobilisation.
7/12/1945. The Japanese General Yamashita was sentenced to death as a war criminal – on the anniversary of Pearl Harbour – and was hanged the following month.
25/10/1945, Taiwan was formally ceded by Japan to China.
11/10/1945. Fighting broke out in China between the Nationalists under Chiang Kai Shek and the Communists under Mao Tse Tung.
15/9/1945, Japan was occupied by Allied forces under General MacArthur. See 28/4/1952, and 14/8/1945.
11/9/1945, Japanese General Hideki Tojo attempted suicide when American troops arrived at his home to arrest him as a war criminal. Tojo shot himself below the heart with a revolver, but survived.
9/9/1945, Japanese forces in China formally surrendered to Chiank Kai Shek in Nanking.
5/9/1945. Singapore re-occupied by the British. See 15/2/1942.
3/9/1945, General Tomoyuki Yamashita formally surrendered the remaining Japanese troops in the Philippines to United States Army General Jonathan M. Wainwright, the same commander who was compelled to surrender to Yamashita at Corregidor in 1942.
2/9/1945, Formal surrender of Japan, see 14/8/1945. The Japanese Chief of Staff, General Yoshijiro Umezo, signed the surrender document on board the USS Missouri, in front of General McArthur.
1/9/1945. British troops took control of Hong Kong.
31/8/1945, Douglas MacArthur established the Supreme Allied Command in Tokyo.
30/8/1945, The British Royal Navy returned to Hong Kong.
29/8/1945, The Xinghua Campaign began in China.
19/8/1945. Soviet troops occupied Harbin and Mukden in Manchuria; 100,000 Japanese there surrendered.
18/8/1945 The Soviet invasion of the Kuril Islands began, opening with the Battle of Shumshu.
16/8/1945, Emperor Hirohito issued a decree at 4:00 p.m. local time ordering all Japanese forces to cease fire. The Japanese cabinet resigned.
14/8/1945. Japan surrendered unconditionally. This marked the end of World War II. VJ day was officially celebrated on the following day, the 15th August. The Japanese surrender was officially accepted by General Douglas MacArthur on the US aircraft carrier Missouri on 2/9/1945. Between November 1944 and August 1945 nearly 70 japanese cities were pulverised, with around 300,000, mostly civilians, killed.
For events in North & South Korea after 1945 see Appendix One below
11/8/1945, The US drafted General Order No.1, providing for Japanese forces in Korea north of the 38th parallel to surrender to the Soviets; those south of the 38th parallel to surrender to the Americans. The Soviets began to seal off the North at the 38th parallel, whilst the US was keen to halt any further southwards penetration by Russian soldiers.
10/8/1945, Emperor Hirohito of Japan announced he was prepared to surrender unconditionally. The US cancelled plans to drop two further atoms bombs, scheduled for 13 and 16 August.
9/8/1945 The second atomic bomb was dropped, on Nagasaki. 40,000 were killed here. The intended target, Kokura, was obscured by cloud.
8/8/1945, The USSR, under Stalin, declared war on Japan. The USSR invaded Japanese-held Manchuria, and northern Korea.
7/8/1945, Radio Tokyo reported unspecifically about an attack on Hiroshima. The Americans were unable to immediately assess the results for themselves because of impenetrable cloud over the detonation site. Late in the day, Imperial Japanese headquarters referred to a "new type of bomb" used on Hiroshima, admitting that "only a small number of the new bombs were released, yet they did substantial damage.
6/8/1945. The first atomic bomb was dropped, on Hiroshima, Japan, from the B29 bomber Enola Gay. At 8.15 in the morning a nuclear chain reaction in the bomb built up a temperature of several million degrees centigrade. In 0.1 milliseconds a fireball at 300,000 degrees centigrade was created, and this expanded to 250 yards in diameter one second after detonation. The mushroom cloud reached 23,000 feet into the sky. 78,000 of the city’s population of 300,000 was killed, some instantaneously, by the blast, some later by the firestorm that the bomb created, and another 90,000 injured, many seriously.
5/8/1945, The U.S. Twentieth Air Force flew over twelve Japanese cities and dropped 720,000 pamphlets warning their populations to surrender or face devastation.
4/8/1945, The US dropped leaflets over Hiroshima, warning that their city was to be obliterated.
3/8/1945, The American government announced that every Japanese and Korean harbor of consequence had been mined, leaving Japan totally blockaded.
31/7/1945, On Tinian, the assembly of the Little Boy atomic bomb was completed.
30/7/1945, The Japanese submarine I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis, killing 833 seamen.
29/7/1945, Japan rejected a US ultimatum to surrender. The US estimated that 1 million Allied casualties would ensue from a land invasion of Japan.
27/7/1945, On the Philippine island of Tinian, the Little Boy atomic bomb began being prepared for use.
25/7/1945, The British 14th Army captured the railhead of Taunggyi in Shan State, north eastern Burma.
22/6/1945. US troops captured Okinawa.
3/5/1945, British forces took Rangoon, Burma.
17/4/1945, The Battle of the Hongorai River began in New Guinea.
8/4/1945, Cebu City fell to the Allies.
1/4/1945, The Battle of Okinawa began as US troops landed on the island. US victory came 83 days later.
20/3/1945. Mandalay was recaptured from the Japanese.
16/3/1945, Iwo Jima was totally occupied by US forces; 4,590 US soldiers were killed, out of a force of 30,000 attacking 23,000 Japanese who were heavily dug in with underground bunkers. See 19/2/1945. Iwo Jima, just 750 miles from
Tokyo, could now be used as a base to bomb some 66 Japanese cities in an attempt to force a Japanese surrender.
9/3/1945, A night of major firebombing of Tokyo began. Around 100,000 died, mostly the elderly, women and children; men were away fighting a war that Japan was by then losing badly.
5/3/1945. The British captured the Japanese base of Meiktilla in Burma, cutting Japanese-occupied Burma in two.
2/3/1945 The British 14th army entered Mandalay, Burma.
19/2/1945, US forces began the invasion of Iwo Jima, see 16/3/1945.
16/2/1945. (1) US Air Force began heavy raids on Tokyo.
(2) The US took Bataan, Philippines.
3/2/1945. The US recaptured Manila, which had fallen to the Japanese on 2/1/1942. Manila was not totally cleared of Japanese soldiers till 24/2/1945.
9/1/1945. Luzon in the Philippines was taken by the US from the Japanese.
4/1/1945, Severe Kamikaze attacks on US ships.
25/11/1944, The first Kamikaze (divine wind) suicidal attacks were made by Japanese pilots on US ships.
24/11/1944. US planes bombed Tokyo, for the first time since 18/4/1942.
19/11/1944, The Shinano, the largest Japanese aircraft carrier ever built, was formally commissioned. Thought capable of withstanding any bomb, she was sunk ten days later by the US submarine Archerfish, with four torpedo hits, with the loss of 1,435 lives. A further 1,000 sailors were rescued.
11/11/1944, Iwo Jima was bombarded by the U.S. Navy.
27/10/1944, The Japanese fleet suffered a crushing defeat in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, effectively ending its role as a fighting force. This was the world’s largest naval battle, which began on 22/10/1944, involving a total of 231 ships and 1996 aircraft.
20/10/1944. General Mac Arthur returned to the Philippines with 250,000 troops, fulfilling a promise ha made when his forces retreated from the Japanese.
1/8/1944. US forces captured the Pacific island of Tinian from the Japanese. Tinian was then developed as a US air force base, from which the mission to drop atom bombs on Japan was to depart (see 6/8/1945).
18/7/1944. Prime Minister Tojo of Japan resigned.
4/7/1944, Conclusion of the Battle of Kohima-Imphal. Crucial battle of the Burma campaign; the 14th Army under Slim fought the Japanese in Burma from 4/3/1944. Allied troops were supplied by air and held back the Japanese from the key towns of Kohima and Imphal.
19/6/1944, The USA took Saipan. It took over three weeks to defeat the Japanese, at a cost of 3,000 Americans dead and 17,000 wounded; 27,000 Japanese also died. The US did not attempt to capture all Pacific islands in their path to Japan, only selected ones, leaving other heavily-armed islands to ‘wither on the vine’. The Japanese fought fiercely and had no fear of death; many ‘Banzai’-charged the US soldiers, led by officers wielding swords.
15/6/1944. Air raids on Japan hit steel mills at Yawata.
21/2/1944. Hideki Tojo became Chief of Staff of the Japanese Army.
4/2/1944. US warships shelled the Japanese homeland; the island of Paramishu.
1/12/1943, The Cairo Declaration, issued by the USA, UK, and China, pledged independence for Korea ‘in due course’. The provisional Korean government in exile, in Chungking, south west China, asked for clarification of this vague phrase, but received none.
1/11/1943, US forces retook Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands.
13/9/1943. General Chiang Kai Shek was elected President of the Chinese Republic.
29/6/1943, US forces landed in New Guinea.
4/3/1943, The Battle of the Bismarck Sea ended (began 2/3/1943). A Japanese convoy carrying troops to Papua New Guinea was sunk by Allied forces.
7/2/1943, The Japanese completed their withdrawal from Guadalcanal.
2/2/1943. Japan made a last-ditch effort to recapture the Solomon Islands.
14/1/1943. The Japanese began withdrawing from Guadalcanal.
19/12/1942. British troops advanced in the Malay peninsula, pushing the Japanese back into Burma.
15/11/1942, The naval battle of Guadalcanal ended in US victory. On the battle's final day the Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima and destroyer Ayanami were sunk by the American battleship USS Washington, while the Americans lost the destroyers Benham and Walke.
12/11/1942, The naval battle of Guadalcanal began.
27/9/1942. Japanese forces pulled back in New Guinea as the allies advanced.
7/8/1942. The USA attempted a landing on the Japanese-occupied southern Solomon Islands. US troops invaded Guadalcanal.
8/6/1942. The Japanese shelled the Australian cities of Newcastle and Sydney.
8/5/1942. The Battle of the Coral Sea. The Japanese and the US each lost an aircraft carrier(US carrier, the Lexington), and the Japanese turned back from an invasion of Port Moresby, New Guinea. This was the first Allied success in the Pacific, and saved Australia from a Japanese invasion.
7/5/1942, Madagascar was occupied by British troops to forestall any Japanese invasion.
6/5/1942. The Japanese captured Corregidor.
2/5/1942. The Japanese captured Mandalay.
26/4/1942, The world’s worst coalmine disaster occurred at Honkeiko Colliery, China. 1,572 were killed.
25/4/1942, American troops arrived in New Caledonia to assist in defence of the archipelago.
17/4/1942, Japanese forces in Burma reached Yenangyaung. The main oilfields in Burma were destroyed to prevent them from falling into Japanese hands.
9/4/1942. The Japanese captured Bataan
12/3/1942, US troops occupied New Caledonia.
10/3/1942. Rangoon, Burma, fell to the Japanese.
9/3/1942, The Dutch East Indies campaign ended in decisive Japanese victory. The Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies began.
8/3/1942. Java surrendered to the Japanese.
7/3/1942. British forces withdrew from Rangoon. Bandung, Java, also fell to the Japanese, effectively giving all of Java to Japan.
2/3/1942, The Japanese began heavy air strikes on New Guinea in preparation for an invasion.
28/2/1942. The Japanese landed on Java, Indonesia.
27/2/1942, The Battle of the Java Sea, in which the Dutch navy was destroyed in defence of Australia. The Japanese were now able to occupy Java.
22/2/1942. Civilians were evacuated from Rangoon as fighting raged 80 miles north east of the city.
19/2/1942. The Japanese bombed the Australian city of Darwin.
15/2/1942. Singapore occupied by the Japanese. See 5/9/1945. The base was supposed to be impregnable, but all its guns pointed out to sea; the Japanese came overland. The base was running out of water and surrendered, but the British did not know the Japanese were almost out of ammunition. The Japanese now had a massive arsenal of guns and ammunition.
12/2/1942. The Japanese captured Bandjermasin, the main town on the south coast of Borneo.
31/1/1942. The Japanese laid siege to Singapore. They landed on Singapore on 9/2/1942.
19/1/1942. Japanese invaded Burma.
18/1/1942, Japanese forces captured Tavoy, Burma.
16/1/1942, In the Battle of Muar in Malaya, the Japanese 5th Infantry Division crossed the Muar River and captured Muar itself.
14/1/1942, The Battle of Gemas was fought in Malaya, resulting in tactical Australian victory.
11/1/1942. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was captured by the Japanese. The Japanese also landed on the northern tip of the Celebes this day, and within a month controlled all the island except the remote interior.
10/1/1942. The Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies.
2/1/1942. Manila captured by the Japanese. The US recaptured it on 3/2/1945.
25/12/1941. Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese. 6,000 troops laid down arms after a 7-day battle.
21/12/1941, Siam (Thailand) signed a treaty with Japan permitting the entry and transit of Japanese troops. This facilitated the Japanese invasion of Burma.
17/12/1941. Sarawak, Borneo, was invaded by the Japanese.
13/12/1941, The Japanese controlled the mainland area of Hong Kong, and Kowloon; Hong Kong Island was still British-held.
10/12/1941. Japanese forces off Malaya sank two major British naval vessels, the Repulse and Prince of Wales, thereby eliminating British naval power from the Far East for some time. Also on this day the Japanese occupied Aparri, a major port in northern Luzon, Philippines. US forces retook it in June 1945. Japan invaded Malaya.
See also France-Germany, from 1/1/1870, for European events of World War Two
See also USA for World War Two, 1940s, Pacific
8/12/1941. Britain and the USA declared war on Japan. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic also declared war on Japan, and China declared war on all the Axis powers. Britain declared war on Finland, Rumania, and Hungary. Siam (Thailand) agreed to the passage of Japanese forces through its territory to attack British Malaya.
7/12/1941. Japanese attack on the USA fleet in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. Pearl Harbour was taken entirely by surprise and within 2 hours 360 Japanese warplanes had destroyed 5 battleships, 14 smaller craft, and 200 aircraft. 2,400 people, many of them civilians, were killed. However the Japanese failed to find and destroy America’s all-important aircraft carriers, both of which were away on manoeuvres. The Japanese force then turned west to strike the British in the East Indies, Australia, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The US Congress met to declare war in emergency session on 8/12/1941,
much to the relief of Britain.
18/10/1941, The expiry of a 6-week deadline, set by the Japanese military on 6/9/1941, for the completion of negotiations with the USA. By the end of September 1941 Japanese oil reserves had fallen to 15 million barrels, and the military wanted to go to war in SE Asia to secure more oil. However there were concerns in Japan about the reaction of America to this invasion. The President of the Japanese National Planning Board stated that domestic oil production could be increased for a fraction of the cost of a war. The pacifist Prince Konoye also opposed war. But when the 18 October deadline passed without result, Konoye resigned and General Tojo became Minister of War. Tojo was less militant than many of his colleagues and extended the deadline for a result of the Japan-US negotiations for a further 6 weeks, to 25 November; again no agreement was achieved.
17/10/1941. General Tojo appointed Prime Minister of Japan.
27/7/1941. Japanese troops moved into Cambodia and Thailand, and captured Saigon.
24/7/1941, Japan announced that Vichy France had consented to Japanese ‘protection’ of the French colonies in Indo-China.
2/7/1941, Japan called up over one million conscripts, and pulled its merchant ships out of the Atlantic.
13/4/1941. Stalin signed a neutrality pact with Japan; Russia was concerned that Japanese conquests in Manchuria had brought Japanese forces up to Russian territory. Whilst this meant that Russian troops from Siberia could be used to resist the German threat, it also freed Japanese troops for action against China
7/11/1940. Britain, the USA, and Australia agreed on the defence of the Pacific.
27/9/1940. Imperial Japan signed a 10-year military and economic alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. This was greatly disturbing to both the USSR and the USA; Japan and Russia had been enemies since the 1905 war, and Hitler’s alliance with Russia, signed in 1939, was looking more uncertain.. The USA now realised that entering the war on the side of the Allies would now entail a war in the Pacific.
22/9/1940. Japanese forces entered Indo-China.
26/7/1940, US President Roosevelt imposed sanctions on Japan in retaliation for Japanese air raids on US missions and churches in China.
22/2/1940, The 5-year-old Tenzin Gyatso was enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama in Tibet. Gyatso was born on 6/6/1935, the day the 13th Dalai Lama died, and was beloved to be his reincarnation, in a sequence going back 544 years. Lhasa’s wise men located Gyatso in 1938 and in traditional manner Gyatso had to pick out various objects that had belonged to his predecessor from amongst a collection of similar objects; he picked them without hesitation.
4/1/1939. The fascist Baron Hiranuma became Prime Minister of Japan.
21/10/1938. The Japanese occupied Canton.
12/10/1938, Japanese troops landed in force on the Chinese mainland, and advanced swiftly on Canton.
27/9/1938. The League of Nations denounced Japanese aggression in China.
11//7/1938. Soviet and Japanese troops clashed on the Manchukuo border.
6/3/1938, The Japanese advanced along the Hangchow Railway through Shansi Province towards the Yellow River.
24/12/1937. Japanese troops captured Hankow, China.
22/12/1937, Britain protested to Japan about attacks on Royal Navy ships on the Yangtse River.
12/12/1937, Japan captured Nanjing, China, see 7/12/1937.
7/12/1937. Japan attacked Nanjing, bitter fighting followed. Japan occupied Nanjing on 12/12/1937. Defeated Chinese soldiers who surrendered were nevertheless killed, and women and children were raped and murdered.
8/11/1937, Japan captured Shanghai.
29/9/1937. In the face of a full-scale Japanese invasion of China, Chiang Kai Shek, the Chinese leader, came to an agreement with his Communist rival, Mao Zedong.
28/9/1937. The League of Nations condemned the Japanese invasion of China.
25/9/1937. The Japanese bombed the Chinese Nationalist capital of Nanjing.
14/8/1937. Hundreds were killed in a Chinese air raid on Shanghai. 1,000 died as Chinese aircraft, intending to bomb Japanese warships in the harbour, in fact bombed the International Concession; their bombs fell short of the target. Many Chinese refugees were killed, and foreign powers made urgent plans to evacuate their nationals as Japanese land forces closed in.
29/7/1937. Japanese troops took Beijing, see 7/7/1937.
10/7/1937, In China, Chiang Kai-shek made a radio address to millions announcing the Kuomintang's policy of resistance against Japan.
9/7/1937, Japan, just two days after the outbreak of war with China, introduced a system of universal healthcare, to supplement the existing scheme which covered industrial employees only. Between end-1938 amd end-1944 the number of citizens covered by this universal health insurance rose from 500,000 to 40 million. The aim was to ensure a healthy population, ready to fight in war.
7/7/1937. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident. Japanese soldiers were exercising near the Marco Polo Bridge, south-west of Beijing, under the Boxer Protocol of 1901 which permitted foreign troops to be stationed in the Beijing area. However they were attacked by Chinese forces. A ceasefire was arranged on 11/7/1937, however the Japanese Foreign Minister, Konoe, nevertheless announced plans to mobilise five divisions in northern China. In response Chiang Kai Shek, reversing his previous appeasement policy which he had followed in response to Japan’s efforts to remove northern China from Chinese control, now reinforced Chinese forces. Japanese forces then took control of Beijing, on 29/7/1937, starting the 1937-45 War.
25/11/1936. Germany and Japan agreed to protect world civilization from the Bolshevik menace, and signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, organised by Ribbentrop. Germany recognised the Japanese puppet state in Manchuria. See 6/11/1937.
11/8/1936, Chiang Kai Shek entered Canton, China.
20/10/1935. Mao Zedong’s troops completed their ‘Long March’ and arrived in the comparative safety of Yan’an in remote north-west China (Shenxi province). Of the 100,000 that set out from Kiangsi province 364 days and 6,000 miles earlier, only 10,000 battered and emaciated survivors remained. They had fought all the way, broken through ten encircling armies, crossed 11 provinces and 24 rivers. The Communists could now regroup to fight Chinese Nationalists and the Japanese occupiers.
16/10/1934. Mao Tse Tung's 'Long March' began. See 20/10/1935.
15/6/1933, China and Tibet ended a two-year war, agreeing to settle upon their pre-war border.
25/2/1933. Japan withdrew from the League of Nations in protest at a vote condemning the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Japan now occupied all of China north of the Great Wall.
25/7/1932. The USSR, Poland, and Japan signed a non-aggression pact.
17/7/1932, In China Chiang Kai Shek began an anti-Communist drive.
15/5/1932, The Japanese Prime Minister, Ki Tauyoshi Inukai, was assassinated. He was succeeded by the Governor-general of Korea, 73-year old Makoto Saito.
5/5/1932. Japanese troops withdrew from Shanghai after an armistice was agreed.
9/3/1932. The last emperor of China, Pu Yi, was installed as head of the Japanese puppet government in Manchuria.
28/1/1932. The Japanese occupied Shanghai, start of a full scale invasion of China. Ostensibly in revenge for a Chinese boycott of Japanese goods, the Japanese were aware of possible US attacks in defence of China. They warned the US that any attempt to interfere in their operations in China would result in war.
8/1/1932. An assassination attempt was made on the Japanese Emperor Hirohito.
2/1/1932. The Japanese proclaimed the Republic of Manchukuo in Manchuria.
24/9/1931, The Japanese set up a puppet government of Manchuria based in Mukden.
21/9/1931, The Japanese took Kirin, China. By early 1932 they controlled three coastal provinces.
18/9/1931. Japan besieged Mukden as it invaded Manchuria. The Japanese set up a puppet state called Manchukuo, which was returned to China in 1945 after World War Two. The Kwantung (Japanese) Army had started the incident, by blowing up wagons on the South Manchuria railway, near the Chinese garrison at Mukden, then blaming the Chinese. However the plot was supported by military leaders in Tokyo. See 18/2/1931.
3/8/1931, Heavy rainfall along the Yangtze River burst a dam which flooded 104,000 square kilometres of farmland. Widespread famine followed. The 37-year old leader of China, Mao Tse Tung, faced multiple threats from this and the Communist rebellion, undermining his ability to deal with the Japanese invasion.
31/7/1931, Chiang Kai Shek defeated the Communists, in northern China.
17/6/1931. In China, the British arrested Nguyen Ai Quoc, also known as Ho Chi Minh, founder of the Indo-Chinese Communist Party.
18/2/1931, The Mukden Incident, an explosion on a railway line near Mukden, gave the Japanese an excuse to occupy Manchuria. The Chinese were driven out of Manchuria. See 18/9/1931.
22/10/1930, Rebels massacred 8,000 in Shanghai, China.
2/9/1930, In Beijing, rebels under Yen Hsi-chan took power.
10/7/1930, In China, Communist troops attacked the city of Hankow.
22/12/1929. China and Russia agreed to withdraw troops from the border as their dispute over the eastern railway ended.
30/11/1929, Soviet planes bombed the Manchurian town of Pokutu.
11/11/1929, Anti-Japanese occupation protests in Korea.
9/9/1929. Heavy fighting between Russia and China on their border.
17/7/1929. Russia broke off diplomatic relations with China and began to mobilise troops on the border.
26/6/1929. The Japanese government signed the anti-war Kellogg-Briand pact, the last government to sign it.
20/12/1928. The UK recognised the Kuomintang government of China.
6/10/1928. Chiang Kai-Shek became President of Nationalist China.
22/7/1928. Japan severed all relations with China.
8/6/1928, Beijing fell to Nationalist forces under Chiang Kai Shek, ending the Chinese civil war.
3/5/1928, Chinese Nationalist forces suffered major losses against the Japanese.
19/4/1928. The Japanese occupied Shantung, China.
7/4/1928, Chinese Nationalists launched an offensive to capture Beijing.
6/2/1928. 50,000 fled as Communists raided Peking.
19/12/1927, In China, 600 Communists were executed by the Nationalists.
15/12/1927, China broke off diplomatic relations with the USSR.
14/12/1927. Chiang Kai Shek’s forces suppressed an attempted Communist coup in Canton.
1/8/1927, The Nanchang Army uprising against the Kuomintang. The Chinese Communist Party considers this the date of the founding of the Red Army.
6/4/1927, Chinese police raided the Soviet Embassy in Beijing, seizing incriminating evidence of subversion. Several Communist leaders were later executed.
21/3/1927. The victorious army of Chiang Kai-Shek entered Shanghai. In April 1927 he mounted an offensive against trade unionists and Communists, driving them into the countryside.
31/1/1927, 12,000 British troops were ordered to China to defend British nationals in Shanghai, where the civil war was posing a threat to foreigners.
1/1/1927. In China the Kuomintang established a government at Hankow.
1926, Japan passed a ‘Peace Preservation Law’, to ‘regulate extremist movements’; this facilitated the suppression of Communist groups.
25/12/1926. Emperor Hirohito ascended the Japanese throne after the death of his father Emperor Yoshihito. He died in January 1989 after 62 years as Emperor.
6/9/1926, In China, Chiang Kai Shek captured Hankow.
1/1/1926, The Nationalist government was established in China.
30/11/1925, The US sent warships to Hankow, China, to stop attacks by Communist Chinese on foreigners.
7/9/1925. Anti-British rioters were shot in Shanghai. Protests had begun in May over working conditions in Japanese owned factories in Shanghai, and British police shot and killed demonstrating workers on 30/5/1925.
29/3/1925. Japan passed a Bill for universal male suffrage.
19/3/1925. Britain established a large naval base at Singapore. This reinforced links with the British colonies such as Hong Kong, but Japan saw it as a threat.
20/1/1925, The UK and China made the Treaty of Peking.
12/3/1925, In China, Kuomintang leader Dr Sun Yat Sen died. General Chiang Kai Shek became the new leader.
5/11/1924, The last Manchu Emperor, Pu-Yi, 18, was evicted from his palace in Beijing by the Christian warlord Feng Xuyiang who took control of the city. Pu-Yi had been compelled to abdicate in 1912, when he was aged 6, by the Revolutionary Government in Nanking after the Wuchang uprising, ending 268 years of Manchu rule and over 2000 years of imperial tradition. He was allowed to continue living in his palace in the Forbidden City, and was temporarily restored to the throne by General Xun’s coup in 1917, but was dethroned after 12 days. Pu-Yi now sought refuge in the Japanese concession at Tien-Tsin.
3/11/1924, Feng Yuxiang's troops entered Tianjin.
31/5/1924. China recognised the USSR.
15/4/1924, The Japan Times called for a boycott of California if the United States passed the Immigration Act, putting the blame for the Bill on that State.
21/1/1924 The Chinese Kuomintang Congress admitted the Communists.
27/12/1923, Emperor Hirohito of Japan narrowly escaped assassination.
17/8/1923. The defence treaty between Japan and the UK (see 30/1/1902 and 23/8/1914) was replaced by a four power agreement between the USA, France, Japan, and the UK.
1/2/1922, Death of the Japanese statesman Yamagata Aritomo (born 14/6/1838). He played a key role in the rise of Japan as a military power in the early 20th century. He was Chief of Staff during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05. Because of this War he developed the ‘Plan of National Defence’ in case of another war with either Russia or America. This Plan formed the basis of Japan’s entry into World War Two. Yamagata died in disgrace after public censure for meddling in the Crown Prince’s marriage.
25/11/1921. Hirohito became Regent in Japan.
23/7/1921. The first congress of the Chinese Communist Party was held in Beijing.
10/4/1921, Sun Yat Sen was elected President of China.
15/12/1920. China and Austria were admitted to the League of Nations.
15/9/1919. China ended its war with Germany.
25/7/1919, The Soviet Assistant Foreign Commissar, Leo Karakhan, issued the Karakhan Manifesto. This renounced all former Tsarist rights and privileges in China. Although Russia did not hand over the Chinese eastern Railway (it in fact sold it to the Japanese in 1935), this Manifesto did much to convince the Chinese radicals that Soviet Russia was their only ally.
4/5/1919. News that the Treaty of Versailles been signed reached China. However, despite the fact that China had declared war on Germany in August 1917, and had over 200,000 soldiers to fight with the Allies, the Treaty stated that German concessions in China would not be returned to the Chinese but would be given to Japan. There were large anti-foreigner demonstrations in China. Over 3,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, to protest at Japan’s continued occupation of Shantung after World War One had ended.
1/3/1919, Anti Japanese colonialism demonstrations in Seoul, Korea.
2/8/1918. British, French, and US forces landed at Archangel to support White Russians against the Bolsheviks. Japan invaded Siberia.
6/4/1918. US, British, and Japanese troops landed at Vladivostock.
15/9/1917. China offered the Allies 15,000 troops to fight on the Western Front.
14/8/1917. China declared war on Germany and Austria.
6/7/1916. Russia and Japan signed a peace treaty.
18/1/1915. Japan made ’21 Demands’ on China, which if accepted would virtually give Japan sovereignty over China.
29/11/1914, Japanese forces seized German territory at Kiaochow, China, thereby winning favour with the Allies. However Japan then went on to try and establish a virtual protectorate over most of China.
7/11/1914. The German fortified city of Qingdao (Tsingtao) in China surrendered to the Japanese.
2/9/1914. The Japanese began landing forces at Lungkow, 150 miles north of Tsingtao.
27/8/1914, Japanese forces began a blockade of Kiaochow Bay, China, to force the surrender of the German stronghold of the town of Tsingtao there.
23/8/1914. Japan declared war on Germany. This was due to the treaty of mutual defence concluded between Japan and the UK on 30/1/1902. The Germans had not responded to an ultimatum by Japan issued 14/8/1914. See 17/8/1923.
14/8/1914, Japan demanded that Germany withdraw warships from the China and Japan region by15/9/1914,
21/11/1913, Death of Tokugawa Keiki, last of the Japanese shoguns who controlled the country from 1603 to 1867.
8/7/1913, China agreed to grant independence to Mongolia.
8/4/1913. China’s first parliament opened, in Beijing.
22/2/1913. Death of the Dowager Empress of China.
20/2/1913. Great fire in Tokyo.
10/8/1912, The Republic of China's provisional government enacted its election law, creating a lower house of Parliament, and limiting voting rights to male citizens aged over 21, had two years residency in their district, and met property and educational restrictions.
7/8/1912. Japan and Russia reached agreement on their spheres of influence in Mongolia and Manchuria.
2/8/1912, Tibetans were routed by Chinese soldiers at Lhasa.
30/7/1912, In Japan, Emperor Meiji Tenno died. He was succeeded by Yoshihito.
4/4/1912. A Chinese Republic was declared in Tibet.
2/3/1912, As rioting broke out in response to the fall of the Manchu Dynasty in China, Beijing was placed under martial law. Foreign troops arrived the next day to protect the citizens of their respective nations.
29/2/1912, Military revolt in Beijing.
12/2/1912, The Chinese Manchu dynasty came to an end when the weeping Empress, Dowager Longyu, read out an edict of abdication on behalf of the 5-year-old Chinese boy-Emperor, Pu-Yi. However the Imperial family were allowed to continue to live in the Forbidden City, with a stipend of US$ 4million a year.
1/1/1912. The Republic of China was officially proclaimed.
29/12/1911, Chinese revolutionary Dr Sun Yat Sen (1866-1925) became the first President of the Republic of China.
6/12/1911. Russia announced that Mongolia was a Russian protectorate.
2/12/1911, Chinese Republicans captured Nanking.
30/10/1911, Guided by the Regent, Prince Chun, the Emperor Pu Yi granted China a constitution. This was to combat growing support for the rebel Republican army of Sun Yat Sen.
10/10/1911, The Imperial Manchu Dynasty, which had ruled China since 1644, was forced to abdicate ‘voluntarily’ and a Kuomintang Republic was proclaimed at Wuchang, under Sun Yat-Sen.
5/1911, The Imperial Dynasty of China was brought down – by a decision to nationalise the railways. This was disliked by the local gentry, who owned the railways. It was also distasteful to the Nationalists because a US$ 6 million foreign loan had bene taken out to finance this nationalisation.
22/8/1910. Japan formally annexed Korea.
4/7/1910. Russia recognised Japanese occupation of Korea in return for a free hand in Manchuria.
23/2/1910. The Dalai Lama and several noted Tibetans fled from Lhasa to India, as Chinese troops occupied Tibet.
26/10/1909, Ahn Jung-geun, a Korean nationalist and independence activist, shot dead Hirobumi Ito, the Japanese colonial governor of Korea, on a station platform at Harbin.
2/12/1908. In China, the child emperor Pu Yi succeeded to the throne, aged 2. His father, the Regent Prince Chun, held the real power. Pu Yi was forced to abdicate in 1912 aged 5 as Republican forces gained strength in China.
15/11/1908. Death of the Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi, at 37 years of age. Her suspicious demise (she was not unhealthy) greatly reduced the chances of a smooth transition to a constitutional monarchy in China.
20/2/1908, The Russian General Stossel was sentenced to death for surrendering to the Japanese.
25/7/1907. Japan made Korea a protectorate.
19/7/1907, Kojong, Emperor of Korea for 43 years, aged 55, abdicated under pressure from the Japanese, who were occupying his country.
15/4/1907. Japan handed Manchuria back to China under the Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese war.
5/12/1906, Russian Admiral Niebogatov went on trial, accused of surrendering ships to the Japanese.
15/11/1906, Japan launched what was then the world’s largest battleship, the Satsuma.
27/4/1906. China reluctantly granted Britain control of Tibet, following the occupation of the capital Lhasa by British troops.
7/2/1906. Pu Yi, last Emperor of China, was born in Beijing.
3/2/1906. Japan decided to double the size of its navy by 1908.
5/9/1905. The Treaty of Portsmouth (New Hampshire) was signed, ending the Russo-Japanese war. Japan acquired south Sakhalin from Russia, also the Russian leasehold territories in South Manchuria. Russia also recognised Japanese dominance in Korea, which led to Japan formally annexing Korea as a colony in 1910. Russia refused to pay any indemnities, sparking angry demonstrations in Tokyo. This Treaty marked the start of Japanese expansion into China, which aroused unease in Washington.
29/8/1905. Russia and Japan agreed peace. An armistice was arranged for 31/8/1905. A peace treaty was signed between Russia and Japan on 5/9/1905 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA.
31/7/1905. The Russian governor of Sakhalin Island surrendered to the Japanese.
27/5/1905. The Russian fleet was annihilated by the Japanese at the Battle of Tsushima. Tsar Nicholas II had sent a fleet of 38 ships on an 18-month voyage from the Baltic to the Far East, including 7 battleships and 6 cruisers. This was met in the Tsushima Straits by Admiral Togo who commanded a fleet of similar size. Battle began on the afternoon of the 27 May and recommenced at dawn on the 28th. All but 3 of the 38 Russian ships were sunk or captured; Japanese losses were just 3 torpedo boats. The Russian fleet was too late to save Port Arthur in any case, which had surrendered to Japan on 2/1/1905. Along with the hunliating defeat at Mukden (10/3/1905) the Tsar now had to accept a humiliating treaty allowing extensive Japanese territorial gains in northern China. The rest of the world now had to accept Japan as a major power, although until 1854 Japan had been a feudal state closed to the rest of the world.
30/3/1905, President Roosevelt was asked to mediate in the Far East war between Japan and Russia.
10/3/1905. The Japanese defeated the 200,000 strong Russian army at Mukden.
19/2/1905, The Japanese began fighting the Russians for control of Mukden.
13/2/1905. The Japanese laid siege to Vladivostock.
1/1/1905. Russians defending Port Arthur finally capitulated to the Japanese; the effort had cost the lives of 60,000 Japanese troops.
5/12/1904. The Japanese destroyed the Russian fleet at Port Arthur.
30/11/1904, The Japanese made headway against the Russians at Port Arthur, at the cost of 12,000 casualties.
For Dogger Bank Incident, October 1904, see Russia
7/9/1904, A treaty between the UK and Tibet gave Britain trading posts in Tibet and a promise that the Dalai
Lama would not cede territory to a foreign power such as Russia.
24/8/1904, The Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, was born in Sichuan Province.
3/8/1904, Tibet’s religious leader, the Dalai Lama, fled Lhasa as Lord Curzon’s forces entered the city.
2/8/1904, The British had faced resistance by Tibetans against colonial expansion. On this day the British, successful against Tibet, entered Lhasa. See 7/9/1904. Britain was concerned about growing Russian influence over Tibet. In May 1904 the last serious Tibetan resistance, in the Karo Pass, had been overcome. 3,000 Tibetans had taken up position behind a wall connecting two forts fired on advancing British, Sikh and Ghurkha forces. However the Sikhs outflanked the Tibetans whilst the Ghurkhas climbed a precipice to fire down on them. The Tibetans fled, leaving 400 dead.
26/6/1904. Japanese forces inflicted a heavy defeat on the Russians at Telissu.
25/5/1904. In a major battle of the Russo-Japanese war at Nanshan, near Port Arthur, 4,500 Japanese and 3,000 Russians died. Oku sealed off Port Arthur by land and sea.
1/5/1904. The Battle of the Yalu marked the start of the Russo-Japanese War.
13/4/1904. Russia lost its flagship battleship Petropavlosk and 600 men to a mine in an ill-fated sortie from Port Arthur.
31/3/1904. British forces under MacDonald killed some 300 Tibetans attempting to halt a British mission to Tibet.
10/2/1904. Night attack by the Japanese crippled the Russian fleet at Port Arthur.
8/2/1904. The Russo-Japanese war broke out. This was provoked by Russian penetration into Manchuria and Korea. By 1898 Russia had secured the Pacific ice-free port of Port Arthur and had linked it to the Trans-Siberian railway going to Vladivostock and beyond. Japan ousted the Russians from Seoul, Korea.
The Russian army numbered 1,000,000 peacetime standing, plus 4,500,000 reserves; the Japanese army only comprised 150,000 men with 900,000 reserves. However the Russians faced a huge logistical problem because most of their forces had to be transported from Europe. The Trans-Siberian railway, still incomplete, was not up to the job. In an effort to resist the |Japanese they sent their Baltic Fleet around the Cape to the Pacific; en route they sank two British North Sea trawlers, thinking they were Japanese warships. See 30/1/1902. Fighting started when the Japanese attacked Port Arthur without warning, sinking two battleships and a cruiser, trapping the rest of the fleet in port. Only after this event did Japan declare war on Russia.
10/11/1903. 10,000 Chinese troops moved into Manchuria.
8/4/1902. Russia signed an agreement with China, promising to withdraw its troops from Manchuria.
30/1/1902. Japan and the UK concluded a mutual defence alliance. See 8/2/1904 and 23/8/1914. Each country agreed not to sign treaties with third nations without consulting the other. Each needed an ally in the region. British interests in China were threatened by other countries, especially Germany, whilst Japan was under threat from Russian expansion in Manchuria.
25/11/1901, Japan sought concessions from Russia over Korea.
7/9/1901. The Peace of Peking ended the Boxer Rising in China. It was signed by a Manchu prince, Li Hung-Chang, and eleven European powers. Under this Treaty, ten Chinese officials were to be executed and 100 others punished, China gave formal apologies, Chinese civil service exams were suspended in 45 cities (so as to penalise the Chinese middle class), the European Legation quarter was to be expanded and fortified, and permanently garrisoned with troops, and key railway posts were to be manned by Western troops to ensure access to Beijing from the sea, and a large indemnity was to be paid by China.
29/4/1901. Birth of Crown Prince Hirohito. Later Emperor of Japan.
26/2/1901, Two leaders of China’s Boxer Rebellion were publically executed in Beijing, ending the 2-year rebellion against foreigners. Japanese soldiers led the men to their death. In January 1901 10,000 allied troops captured Beijing and ended a 56-day Boxer siege of the foreign legations. The Chinese Dowager Tzu Hsi shared the beliefs of the Boxers, the Society of Righteous Harmony Fists, and refused to act against them. She has now fled Beijing; China had to pay an indemnity for the deaths of 1,500 foreigners in the rebellion, and to accept Western troops permanently stationed in Beijing.
14/8/1900. 10,000 European troops entered Beijing and ended the 56-day Boxer siege of the legations there. The Chinese Dowager fled Beijing, and accepted the foreign powers’ terms. These included punishment of 96 senior officials, large reparations in gold, an expression of regret, and the acceptance of a string of foreign forts on Chinese territory. Some Boxer leaders were beheaded in public.
20/6/1900. The Boxer troops, and Dong Fuxiang’s Gansu troops, began attacks on legations, churches, and other foreign establishments. They murdered the German Ambassador in Peking.
18/6/1900, The Empress of China ordered that all foreigners in the country were to be killed.
17/6/1900. In response to the growing Boxer threat, the allied troops of Germany, Britain, France, the USA, Italy, France, Austria, and Japan captured the Dagu forts.
30/5/1900, Diplomats representing foreign powers in China requested troops to protect them from increasing threats from Chinese nationalists.
21/5/1900. Russia annexed Manchuria.
7/4/1900, Britain, France, Germany and the US warned China to suppress the Boxer movement, or face invasion.
30/12/1899, A British missionary was murdered in China, close to Tsinan. As a result the British consul in Shanghai ordered that three Chinese should be beheaded, also one to be strangled, another to serve 10 years in prison, and another to be banished; furthermore, three village elders were to be flogged. This incident illustrates the weakness of the Chinese State at the time against British colonialism.
9/2/1899, The Boxer Rebellion gained momentum in China. Lack of rain had caused crops to fail, and Boxer pamphlets blamed the Churches for ‘standing in the way of Heaven and angering the Gods’. The Boxer publicity blamed ‘blue-eyed barbarians’ for angering the ancestors and said railways, electric wires and ships must be destroyed. Britain, France, Germany and Russia had forced territorial concessions from China. The Boxers, or ‘society of harmonious fists’, were a secret society, originally formed to promote boxing, who became dedicated to removing foreign influence from China.
1/7/1898, China leased the New Territories (Hong Kong) to Britain for 99 years.
5/3/1898, Zhou Enlai, Chinese Premier, was born.
1/8/1895. The people of Gutian in Fujian Province, destroyed churches and killed more than ten Australian and British missionaries, including women and children.
2/6/1895, Japan took formal possession of Formosa (Taiwan) from China.
17/4/1895. Japan and China signed the Peace Treaty of Shimonoseki. China recognised the independence of Korea (although Japan did not have to recognise this), and ceded Formosa (Taiwan), the Pescadores Islands, and the Liaodong Peninsula, to Japan. China also had to pay a huge indemnity to Japan, and allow Japanese trade in four treaty ports, which would be exempt from Chinese taxation. Rivalry between Japan and China over Korea had started this war; the immediate cause was the assassination of a pro-Japanese politician in Korea, which gave Japan an excuse to send in troops. Japan opened hostilities without declaring war, by sinking a Chinese troopship and machine-gunning the survivors. However on 23/4/1895 Russia, France, and Germany intervened, forcing Japan to hand back the Liaodong Peninsula.
30/11/1895. China and Russia made a secret treaty so that Russia could build the Trans-Siberian railway through Manchuria to the port of Vladivostock.
21/11/1894. Japan defeated China at Port Arthur.
1/8/1894. War was formally declared between China and Japan.
27/7/1894, Korea declared war on China.
25/7/1894, Japanese forces sank the Kowshing, a British ship carrying Chinese forces to Korea.
26/12/1893. Mao Tse Tung, Chinese Communist leader, was born in Hunan. He was the son of a peasant farmer.
29/11/1890, In Japan, the Meiji Constitution came into effect.
11/7/1890, The first ever elections in Japan; the electorate comprised only 450,000 people.
11/2/1889. The Meiji Emperor in Japan, dressed for the occasion in a European field-marshal’s uniform, took his seat on a Prussian armchair in the European-looking throne room of the palace of his new capital, Tokyo, and announced a new constitution providing for Japan’s first parliamentary elections. ‘Meiji’ denoted an Age of Brightness and it was hoped this would be the start of Japan as one of the great modern nations of the world. Japanese cities did indeed become more ‘modern’ and European; cinemas and dance halls appeared, frequented by ‘liberated’ young Japanese. However the constitution was based on a Prussian model, tied to the Confucian tradition of respect for authority, and the electorate was very limited; ministers were still picked by the emperor, not parliament. Japan remained a nation where the emperor and the military had most of the real power, leading ultimately to its participation in the Second World War. Some see 1964, when the Olympics were held in Tokyo, as the turning point when the war and US occupation were put behind and Japan became a ‘western’ nation.
31/10/1887, Chiang Kai-Shek, Chinese military leader and politician, was born in Fenghua, Chekiang province.
17/11/1884. Chinese Turkestan was given provincial status, and renamed Xinjiang, or New Frontier.
11/9/1883, Anti-European riots in Canton, China
22/5/1882, The USA signed a treaty with Korea recognising its independence from China, Russia, and Japan.
24/9/1877. In Japan, a Samurai rebellion which began in Satsuma in January 1876 was over with the suicide of its leader Saigo Takamori. Saigo resigned from the Japanese government when it decided not to invade Korea, and became leader of some 40,000 disaffected samurai, frustrated at being deprived of a foreign war. More seriously for them, the samurai have been overtaken by the establishment of a modern Japanese army, with firearms and other technology. The Samurai were forbidden to wear their distinctive military dress or carry swords; the Japanese government had assumed responsibility for their stipends and cut them sharply. In effect the samurai had become low grade civil servants.
27/2/1876, Japan and Korea signed the Treaty of Kanghwa. Until 1873 Korea, governed by the xenophobic Regent Taewon-Gun, had rejected diplomatic approaches by Japan. In 1875 Japanese gunboats off Kanghwa Island, near Seoul, were fired upon by the Koreans. Japan used this incident to force closer commercial and political links with Korea, backed up by the Japanese Navy. The Treaty of Kanghwa encouraged Western powers to also seek closer links with Korea, ending its isolation and its status as a vassal state of China.
24/10/1871. In Los Angeles, 19 Chinese were killed in anti-Chinese riots.
4/7/1871. Russian troops occupied the Ili area of Chinese Turkestan.
1870, The city of Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan, was founded. The Japanese population of Hokkaido began to rise significantly.
6/4/1868, The Japanese Government under Emperor Meiji issued a general policy statement known as the Charter Oath, following the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate. This Oath declared that ancient feudal social ranks and other practices would be eliminated from Japanese society, and that a programme of moderniasation based on Western values would be followed.
3/1/1868, The 16-year-old Emperor Meiji seized control of Japan from the Tokugawa Shogun, ending 700 years of military rule. Japan was now more open to the outside world.
14/10/1867, Okubo Toshimichi, a senior courtier of the feudal Japanese House of Satsuma, travelled from the capital, Edo, to the provincial town of Yamguchi to meet with leaders of the Choshu clan. Toshimichi proposed to overthrow the ruling Satsuma House, and succeeded in forming the secret Satcho alliance, along with the Toza and Hizen clans.
12/11/1866, Sun Yat Sen, President of China, was born.
6/9/1866, Three British tea clippers reached London within hours of each other after a 16,000 mile race from China. The Serica, Taiping and Ariel left Foochow at the end of May 1866 ; the 200 foot clippers were the fastest ships yet built, sailing at over 20 mph.
7/8/1865. In the continuing Muslim rebellion in Chinese Turkestan, Ya’qub Beg captured the oasis towns of Kucha and Aksu and took the ruler Burhanuddin as prisoner. On 7/9/1865 Ya’qub Beg captured Kashgar, slaughtering some 4,000 Han Chinese.
25/6/1862. A Japanese imperial decree expelled all foreigners, contrary to advice from the Shogun.
24/10/1860. China gave way to trade demands from Britain and France after fighting. Beijing was captured on 6/10/1860.
6/10/1860, An Anglo-French force invading China captured Peking.
29/7/1858, The Treaty of Edo was signed between Japan and the USA. This extended US trading rights gained under the Treaty of Kanagawa (1854) and further opened up Japan to Western influence.
28/5/1858. Russia acquired from China the territory on the left (north) bank of the middle and upper River Amur, along with the territory on both sides of the lower Amur. This was under the Treaty of Aigun.
31/3/1858, China gave in to British and French demands for trade concessions.
3/3/1857, Britain and France declared war on China, using the killing of a missionary as a pretext.
31/3/1854. The USA and Japan signed the Treaty of Kanagawa, opening up the Japanese ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade.
8/7/1853. US Commodore Matthew Perry steamed into Japan’s Edo Bay (now Tokyo) with his ‘black ships’ and demanded that the country open up to US trade. He backed up his demand with cannon fire. For 250 years Japan had been a feudal state run by the Tokugawa shoguns.
19/3/1853, Taiping (Heavenly Peace) rebels in China, a Protestant movement, challenged the ruling Manchu Ch’ing dynasty by taking the city of Nanjing.
19/10/1851, Myeongseong, Empress of Korea, was born.
22/8/1849, Amaral, the Portuguese Governor of Macao, was assassinated for his pro-Chinese policies.
25/7/1845. China granted Belgium equal trading rights with Britain, France, and the USA. See 24/10/1844.
24/10/1844. France and China signed the Treaty of Whampoa, opening up Chinese ports to French trade. French traders came under French, not Chinese, law, and the French gained the right to build Catholic churches in the treaty ports of China.
3/7/1844. China and the USA signed the Treaty of Wanghiya, giving US citizens similar rights to those of the UK in the Treaty of Nanjing signed in 1843. US traders now had access to the same five Chinese trading ports as Britain did.
1/12/1843. China again banned opium smoking, the cause of the Opium War. However the Chinese already had an insatiable appetite for it, and ignored this decree. Opium smuggling into China was rampant, run by gangsters such as the Triads.
17/11/1843. In accordance with the Treaty of Nanjing (see 29/8/1842) Shanghai was opened up to foreign trade.
8/10/1843, Britain and China signed the British Supplementary Treaty; an addition to the Treaty of Nanjing (29/8/1842), giving Britain favourable trading terms with China. See 3/7/1844.
29/8/1842. The Opium War (1839-1842) between Britain and China ended (see 26/1/1841) with the Treaty of Nanjing. China ceded Hong Kong Island in perpetuity to Britain and opened up five ports to foreign trade. There was further humiliation for the Chinese; they were to pay US$21million over the next 5 years for the opium they destroyed, which started the war. On 5/4/1843 Queen Victoria proclaimed Hong Kong a British Crown Colony.
26/1/1841. Hong Kong was proclaimed British territory. It was occupied by British troops as the Opium War with China continued. It was ceded by China on 20/1/1841, in what the Chinese termed the ‘Unequal Treaties’. The much larger area known as the ‘New Territories’ was leased from China until 1997. This area contained Hong Kong’s water supplies and the whole territory was returned to China then.
See 5/7/1840, and 29/8/1842.
20/1/1841, Hong Kong was ceded to Britain by China, see 26/1/1841.
5/7/1840. In the Opium War (see 4/9/1839), British naval forces bombarded Dinghai on Zhousan Island and then occupied it. See 26/1/1841. This war is not just about opium but the right to force China to open its ports to British trade.
20/2/1840, In the UK, Palmerston ordered the British Navy to attack China in order to prevent the suppr4ession of the opium trade.
30/1/1840, The Emperor of China forbade all trade with Britain.
3/11/1839, Britain began to assemble an expeditionary military force as relations with China deteriorated over the opium trade issue.
4/9/1839. The British fired the first shots on the Chinese in the Opium War, see 24/3/1839. On 3/11/1839 British and Chinese forces clashed near the Bogue Forts at the mouth of the Pearl River. The formal declaration of the Opium War was in June 1840. see 5/7/1840.
24/3/1839. The Chinese blockaded foreign owned opium factories. This was to force the factories to hand over their opium stocks for destruction. The Chinese destroyed 20,000 chests of opium belonging to British traders, worth US$ 12 million. Opium had been imported from India to China since the 17th century, but was now ruining the Chinese economy. European tea imports from China had been paid for in silver but the merchants forced them to accept opium instead. The British also refused to hand over sailors who killed a Chinese peasant in a drunken pub brawl. News of this reached London on 5/8/1839, and on 23/8/1839 the British assembled a fleet of warships off Hong Kong. See 4/9/1839.
12/12/1838. In China, a riot broke out when British and American opium traders drove away Chinese officials intending to execute a native opium dealer in front of the foreign owned opium factories.
14/6/1838, Birth of the Japanese statesman Yamagata Aritomo (see 1/2/1922).
10/3/1839, An imperial Chinese official named Lin Zexu arrived at Canton with orders from Emperor Daoguang to eradicate the opium trade.
1720, Tibet became a dependency of China. Apart from foreign and military affairs, China largely left Tibet alone until te 20th century.
1703, The Incident of the Forty Seven Ronin. In 1701 a quarrel between a minor feudal lord and a powerful official of the Court of the Shogun resulted in the Shogunate official being wounded by the feudal lord, at the Shogun’s Court in Edo. For this incident, the feudal lord was ordered to commit suicide and his lands were confiscated. As aresult the lord’s Samurai retainers then became ronin, or masterless Samurai, much diminished in status. Forty Seven of these ronin then vowed to take revenge and waited for an opportunity to kill the Shogunate official, which time came in 1703; this despite the fact that the ronin knew they themselves would have to die for this act. For their unflinching loyalty to their former master, these ronin then became heroic symbols of self-sacrifice.
7/9/1689, China signed the Treaty of Nerchinsk with Russia. This was the first treaty signed by China with another country as opposed to a vassal state. The Treaty settled border disputes in the Amur region.
19/1/1657, The Japanese city of Edo was destroyed in a huge fire; over 100,000 people died.
1643, Abahai (born 1592), Manchu leader, 8th son of Nurhaci, died. He rose to supremacy over the other senuor Manchu princes, becoming sole leader. Under his rule, from his capital at Mukden Abahai extended the Manchu empire into Korea and Mongolia, and raided northern China. In 1636 Abahai proclaimed himself Emperor of the Qing Dynasty; this invaded China in 1644.
28/2/1638, Japanese peasants occupying Hara Castle, near Nagasaki, surrendered to Shogun Iemitsu’s besieging 124,000-strong army because of lack of food. The army then massacred most of the 37,000 peasants. Furhermore Iemitsu expelled the Portuguese traders from Japan, suspecting them of complicity in stirring up the peasant’s demands, and prohibited the building of large seagoing ships that might carry Japanese to other countries. The isolation of Japan began.
12/1637, The Japanese Shogun Iemitsu began besieging the peasant rebels on the Shimabara Peninsula.
1636, The Japanese Shogun Iemitsu forbade foreign travel.
4/6/1615, The Japanese Shogun Ieyasu took Osaka after a 6-month siege.
1601, The Regent Ieyasu established a chain of 53 inns between Edo and Osaka at which travellers could stay overnight and obtain fresh horses.
18/9/1598, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Japanese statesman (born 6/2/1537) died. A feudal lord of peasant origin, he completed the unification of Japan under Oda Nobunaga. This was accomplished by the defeat of the feudal barons (daimyo). He instituted a rigid system of class divisions, having farmers, merchants, monks and warriors living in different quarters of Japanese towns. In 1592 he attempted to take the Korean Peninsula from China, but his army was too small for this task. In 1597 he tried again, also unsuccessfully. He even harboured ambitions of much wider conquests, including China, the Philippines and India. His death left a power vacuum that plunged Japan into civil war.
5/2/1597, In Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi crucified 26 Christians in Nagasaki, then told all remaining missionaries to leave the country. When most defied the order, Hideyoshi took no action for fear of alienating Portuguese traders.
1590, Tokyo, then known as Yedo (estuary-gate) was chosen by Tokugawa Iyeyasu as national capital.
1583, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi laid the foundations of Osaka Castle.
1573, In China, Wan Li became Emperor at age 10. He ruled for 47 years as Emperor Shen Zong.
1557, The Portuguese first obtained permission from China to trade at Macao.
15/8/1549, Francis Xavier entered the Japanese port of Kagoshima to begin a conversion work.
1543, Guns first entered Japan. A Chinese ship was wrecked off Kyushu, with two Portuguese on board carrying muskets. The local governor bought these muskets and replicated them. Firearms eventually made the Samurai redundant, as they did the European knights.
6/2/1537, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Japanese statesman, was born (see 18/8/1598).
9/6/1526, Emperor No-Gara became ruler of Japan.
1517, The Portuguese became the first Europeans to visit Taiwan. They called it Ilha Formosa, meaning ‘beautiful island’.
30/7/1470, Hongzhi, Emperor of China, was born.
1467, In Japan, Shogun Yoshimasa named his brother Yoshime as his sucxcessor, but this was challenged by supporters of his son, Yoshihisa. 10 years of civil war began in Japan.
1433, China abrubtly halted its overseas exploration, even banning the construction of seagoing ships.
5/8/1424, Emperor Chu Ti, also known as Yung Lo or Ch’eng Tsu, died (born 2/5/1360). Under his rule China sent out exploration fleets, between 1403 and 1433, under the command of the Muslim eunuch Cheng Ho (Zheng He). These expeditions reached Java, southern India, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and eastern Africa as far south as Zanzibar. He also maintained peaceable relations with the Mongols and other peoples, as far as the Amur River and west to Herat and Samarkand.
1416, Zheng He’s ships reached Aden.
29/11/1394, The capital city of the Joseon Dynasty in present-day Korea was moved from Gaegyeong (now Gaeseong) to Hanseong (now Seoul).
2/5/1360, Emperor Chu Ti, also known as Yung Lo or Ch’eng Tsu, was born. See 5/8/1424.
11/10/1335, Yi Seong-gye, founder of the Joseon Dynasty, was born in Korea.
26/11/1288, Go-Daigo, Emperor of Japan, was born.
12/8/1281, Battle of Kōan (Hakata Bay): The second Mongol invasion of Japan was foiled, as a large typhoon – famously called a kamikaze, or divine wind – destroyed much of the combined Chinese and Korean fleet and forces, numbering over 140,000 men and 4,000 ships.
20/11/1274, Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty attempted the first of several invasions of Japan (30,000 soldiers and support personnel sails from Korea); after the Mongols captured outlying islands, they were repulsed on the main island at the Battle of Bun'ei by amassed Japanese warriors and a strong storm which battered their forces and fleet. Credit for the storm — called a kamikaze, or divine wind — was given by the Japanese to the god Raiden.
1185, In Japan, the ruling Taira Clan was deposed by the Minamoto.
1071, Eastern Tibet disintegrated into small states, paving the way for penetration by China.
30/4/1063, Renzong, Emperor of China, died.
1004, The earliest mention of gunpowder, in China. Gunpowder, a mixture of saltpetre (potassium nitrate, the white powder that forms in organic-rich environments protected from rainfall, sulphur and charcoal, powdered together, is explosive because the potassium nitrate provides the oxygen for very rapid combustion; gunpowder is stable at room temperature but can be set off by temperatures above 300 C. Gunpowder gave the West the gun, which was to demolish the ancient chivalric knightly horse-based warfare of the Mediaeval period, and give the infantry the upper hand. Gunpowder likewise demolished the power of the Japanese Samurai, when the gun entered Japanese society. Early guns (cannon) were in use in Europe by 1326, but were low-powered and inaccurate until metallurgists found how to cast strong barrels to contain and direct larger explosive charges, from the 1400s. See 1673.
907, In China, fall of the Tang Dynasty.
813, In Japan, Watamaro was appointed Sei-i-Shogun (Barbarian-Subduing-General) for the duration of his campaign against the Ainu.
802, The Ainu, inhabitants of the island of Hokkaido, were conquered by the Japanese under Tamura Maro. However very few Japanese ever settled in Hokkaido until the 1870s.
18/11/763, Forces of the Tibetan Empire under Trisong Detsan occupied the Tang Chinese capital Chang’an for 16 days.
2/5/756, Shomu, Emperor of Japan, died.
712, Japan’s oldest book, the Kojiki, was completed. It covered the nation’s history from mythical beginnings to around 600 AD. It reinforced the imperial family’s claim to be descended from the Shinto Sun Goddess, Amaterasu. It was the first work written on the Japanese script Kana; before then only Chinese writing was used in Japan.
710, Nara became the capital of Japan.
16/12/705, Empress Wu Hou of China died. Born in 625, she became a junior concubine in the palace of Emperor Tai Tsung in 638; on his death in 649 she became very close to his successor, Kao Tsung. In 655 she became Empress. By 660 Emperor Kao Tsung was very ill and Wu Hou was effective ruler of China. Between 655 and 675 China conquered Korea. In 690 Wu Hou officially became Empress. In February 705 Chinese government ministers forced her to abdicate in favour of her son, Chung Tsung.
639, In Tibet, King Sbrong tsan Sgam po introduced Buddhism from India, and founded Lhasa.
621, Emperor Shotoko Taishi of Japan died (born 552). Beginning of the Asuka Period.
4/8/598,: Emperor Wendi ordered his youngest son, Yang Liang, to conquer Korea during the rainy season, with a Chinese army (300,000 men).
587, The first Buddhist monastery was established in Japan.
552, Buddhism was introduced to Japan from Korea. It became the State Religion of Japan 40 years later.
522, The earliest known pagoda in China was built at the Sung Yuen Temple in Honan. The structure derived from the tall Indian stupa.
478, First Shinto shrines in Japan.
58, Emperor Ming-Ti of China introduced Buddhism.
4/10/23, After disastrous floods in China as the Yellow River changed course several times between 2AD and 11 AD, causing famine, starving rebel peasants stormed the Chinese Imperial Palace. Emperor Wang Mang attempted to marshal magical forces in defence, in vain, and he was killed in fighting on 6/10/23.
10/1/9, Wang Mang assumed the title of Emperor of China, replacing the Han Dynasty by the new H’sin Dynasty.
3/2/6 AD, Chinese Emperor P’ing suddenly died; some suspected Wang Mang of poisoning him. Wang Mang arranged for the youngest of some 50 possible successors, a 1 year old baby, to be the new Emperor; Wang Mang became Acting Emperor.
15/8/1 BCE, Emperor Ai of China died. Wang Mang became Regent once more, at the behest of Wang Mang’s aunt, the Empress Dowager. Wang Mang quickly arranged for his 14 year old daughter to be the Empress of the new Chinese Emperor, P’ing.
27/8/7 BCE, Under the rule of Emperor Ai of China, Wang Mang resigned the regency. Ai disliked Wang Mang, and he was sent to his country estates.
17/4/7 BCE, Emperor Ch’eng of China died, without an heir.
28/11/8 BCE, Wang Mang became Regent of China.
8/9/23 BCE. The first recorded ritual Sumo wrestling bout took place. Each year a priest still officiates for the Ceremony of the Crows at the Kamo shrine, Kyoto, Japan.
100 BCE, Chinese maritime explorers first reached the coast of India.
115 BCE, Chinese armies invaded the Lop Nor region and Tarim basin.
210 BCE, Shi Huangdi died.
215 BCE, The Great Wall of China, 1,400 km long, was completed.
221 BCE, Start of the Qin Dynasty. China was united under Shi Hunagdi, the Great Wall was built, along with roads and canals, also the Chinese script, the system of weights and measures, and the legal system, were standardised.
356 BCE, The first Great Wall was built, to protect against Hun invasions.
479 BCE, Death of Kung Fu-tse, Chinese philosopher (born 551 BCE).
27/8/551 BCE, Confucius was born.
604 BCE, Lao Tse, Chinese philosopher, born.
1100 BCE, First Chinese dictionary was compiled.
1122 BCE, The Shang Dynasty (see 1766 BCE) was overthrown by the Zhou Dynasty, a Chinese speaking people from thye Shanxi area. Start of a flourishing of Chinese art, literature and philosophy; the start of Confucianism. The Zhou Dynasty endured until 256 BCE.
1766 BCE, Start of Shang Dynasty in China; earliest recorded dynasty in China. Emerging from the earlier Hsia (Xia) Neolithic culture, the Shang was centred on the Henan area; it was differentiated from the ‘barbarians to the north’ by sophisticated brinze tools,ancestor worship, and an established warrior aristocracy with chariots. See 1122 BCE.
3000 BCE, Urban centres developed in China.
Appendix One – North & South Korea post-World War Two
9/9/2016, North Korea conducted its 5th nuclear test, the largest to date.
7/2/2016, North Korea launched a satellite into orbit. The US and South Korea made strong protests, because the same rocket technology could be used for an intercontinental nuclear strike.
6/1/2016, North Korea claimed to have exploded a Hydrogen Bomb in an underground test. China, North Korea’s closest ally expressed anger over this and over claims that North Korea had also succeeded in firing a missile from a submarine. However the explosion was smaller than would be expected from a true Hydrogen Bomb, and may have been a ‘boosted fission’ bomb instead.
20/8/2015, Kim Jong Un, President of North Korea, put his troops on a war footing in reaction to South Korea blasting propaganda messages by loudspeaker across the border. Seoul said the propaganda broadcasts, the first since 2004, were in retaliation for a landmine that maimed two South Korean soldiers. North Korea threatened to shoot out the loudspeakers. There was also exchange of gunfire between the two countries.
16/9/2013, North Korea reopened the joint N-S industrial zone at Kaesong.
3/4/2013, North Korea closed the joint N-S industrial zone at Kaesong.
2/4/2013, North Korea said it would restart its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
11/3/2013, North Korea cut the phone line with the South, breaking the 1953 Armistice terms.
7/3/2013, The UN Security Council unanimously agreed to tighten sanctions on North Korea.
12/2/2013, North Korea conducted a 3rd underground nuclear test, provoking fears of war with the USA.
12/12/2012, North Korea successfully launched a satellite using its Unha-3 rocket, see 13/4/2012.
18/7/2012, Kim Jong Un was officially appointed Supreme Leader of North Korea.
13/4/2012, North Korea launched a satellite, which exploded soon after take-off. The USA condemned the move. The rocket used was the Unha-3, which could theoretically carry a nuclear missile to the mainland USA. See 12/12/2012.
29/2/2012, North Korea agreed to stop enriching uranium and testing missiles.
17/12/2011, Kim Jong Il, leader of North Korea died. His youngest son, Kim Jong Un, succeeded him.
23/11/2010, North Korea shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.
26/3/2010, North Korea was blamed for the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, killing 46 of the 104 aboard.
25/5/2009, North Korea announced that it had conducted a successful underground nuclear test; America condemned the move.
5/4/2009, North Korea fired a rocket, ostensibly to carry a satellite. The UN held an emergency session, but took no action.
13/2/2007, North Korea agreed to close its nuclear facility at Yongbyon by 14/4/2007 in return for energy aid equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil.
2006, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test.
2005, North Korea announced it had nuclear weapons.
9/10/2006, North Korea claimed to have conducted its first ever nuclear test explosion.
19/9/2005, North Korea agreed to stop building nuclear reactors in exchange for aid and co-operation.
2003, North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
2002, The US suspended help to North Korea in building two nuclear reactors, over suspicions that the country was secretly enriching uranium for a bomb. United Nations inspcetors were expelled from the Yongbyon nuclear facility.
1999, North Korea agreed to stop testing long-range missiles.
1998, North Korea fired a Taedong missile over Japan.
1994, North Korea shut down its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, which had been producing plutonium. This was in exchange for US aid and assistance in producing civilian nuclear power.
8/7/1994. North Korean President Kim Il Sung (born 1912) died.
11/3/1993. North Korea threatened to withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but did not in fact leave.
15/4/1988, North Korean President Kim Il Sung received 43,000 gifts as he instituted lavish celebrations for his 76th birthday.
1986, North |Korea started operations at the 5-megawatt Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which had been built with Soviet help.
1/9/1983. A South Korean airliner was shot down by Soviet fighter planes after it had strayed into USSR airspace, killing 269 people.
14/10/1982. 5,837 people were married simultaneously in Seoul, South Korea; the world’s largest mass wedding.
3/1/1982. South Korea finally lifted a nightly curfew imposed 36 years earlier.
21/1/1968, North Korean commandos made an assassination attempt upon President Park of South Korea, getting within 300 metres of the Presidential Palace.
19/7/1965, Syngman Rhee, first President of the Republic of Korea (1948-60) died in Hawaii.
20/7/1954. The Geneva Agreement ended hostilities between North and South Korea.
10/10/1953. President Eisenhower of the USA signed a treaty with South Korea promising military aid if North Korea attacked.
27/7/1953. Armistice signed in Panmunjom, Korea, ended the Korean War. The 3-year conflict cost an estimated 4 million lives. These included 1,313,000 South Koreans, 1,000,000 of whom were civilians; 900,000 Chinese soldiers, 520,000 North Korean soldiers, and 1,000,000 North Korean civilians. There were 33,629 US casualties and 3,194 UN soldiers were killed. Across Korea, 43% of industrial facilities and 33% of homes were destroyed.
31/12/1952, China now had 1,200,000 troops under Peng TeHuai fighting alongside North Korea.
23/6/1952. US planes bombed hydro-electric plants in North Korea.
See also USA for Korean War, 1950 onwards
4/3/1952, China accused the US of germ warfare in Korea.
10/7/1951, Negotiations began between the USA and USSR over the Korean conflict. The USSR demanded a return to the 38th parallel; the US insisted on the current front line as the frontier. The US also rejected Chinese demands for a withdrawal of all foreign troops from Korea. PoWs were also an issue, with the US holding 171,000 prisoners, 50,000 of whom did not wish to return to Communist rule. Many North Koreans and Chinese wished to go to South Korea or Taiwan. The Communists, afraid of losing face, wanted all returned. Both sidcs wanted an end to the conflict; Dwight D Eisenhower, in office from 1953, was concerned at the expense of the war. Stalin’s death in 1953 in March 1953 eased the deadlock. Most of the PoWs who wanted to defect to Western countries were allowed to do so.
11/4/1951. General MacArthur was relieved of his command by President Truman, after disagreeing over the conduct of the Korean War. MacArthur wanted to carry the war over into Communist China, and bomb Chinese bases in Manchuria. MacArthur returned to a heroes welcome in Washington, but did not realise his hopes of nomination for the US Presidential elections. From now until the Armistice of 1953 both sides fought holding actions to maintain current positions; US forces were slightly north of the 38th parallel.
31/3/1951, In the Korean War, UN / US forces once again reached the 38th parallel, the border between North and South.
4/1/1951, Seoul was evacuated by US forces (again). However at Pyongtaek, 50 km south of Seoul, the Chinese-North Korean offensive was halted. A UN counter-offensive began in late January.
1/1/1951, Chinese and North Korean forces advanced through UN lines and captured Seoul.
28/12/1950. Chinese forces in Korea crossed the 38th parallel.
28/11/1950. China entered the Korean War; 200,000 troops entered Korea across the Yalu River. UN troops were forced back south again. On 28/12/1950 Chinese forces crossed the 38th parallel. The West had ignored Chinese threats to intervene if US forces crossed north of the 38th parallel.
24/11/1950, South Korean forces began an offensive in the Yalu Valley; China planned intervention to support the North.
26/10/1950. US forces advancing in North Korea reached the Yalu River, the border between North Korea and China.
19/10/1950. US and South Korean forces captured Pyongyang, during the Korean War. The UN General Assembly declared an aim of a united Korea.
29/8/1950. The first British soldiers arrived in Korea.
29/6/1950, South Korean forces retook Seoul.
See also USA for Korean War, 1950 onwards
28/6/1950, British Royal navy ships joined the US forces in South Korea.
27/6/1950. North Korean forces took Seoul. British forces joined the war in Korea.
26/6/1950, US President Truman sent US forces to support South Korea.
25/6/1950. Start of the Korean War. North Korea invaded the South, crossing the 38th parallel, which was the border.
30/1/1950, North Korea Chairman, Kim Il-sung, was informed that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had decided to support Kim's plan for an invasion of South Korea. Stalin provided the message to Kim by way of Soviet envoy Terenti Shtykov, after having met with Chinese leader Mao Zedong in Moscow.
29/6/1949, US troops completed their withdrawal from South Korea, leaving behind just 500 men to serve as advisors to the 98,000-strong South Korean armed forces, a body barely large enough to maintain internal order, let alone deal with any threat from North Korea.
7/6/1949, In a statement to US Congress, President Harry S Truman, talking about measures necessary to prevent Communist domination of the Pacific, declared that Korea had become a testing ground in the ideological conflict between Communism and democracy.
17/3/1949, The USSR agreed to provide heavy military equipment to North Korea.
9/9/1948, Following the withdrawal of Russian troops, North Korea became independent as the People’s Democratic Republic of North Korea.
31/5/1948, The South Korean National Assembly elected Syngman Rhee as Chairman.
14/11/1947. The UN recognised the independence of Korea.
23/8/1946, In North Korea, the Workers Party was established. By December 1946 its membership reached 600,000 (total population of North Korea was then 9 million).
14/10/1945, Kim Il Sung returned to North Korea (in the uniform of a Soviet Red Army Major) to receive a hero’s welcome. Soviet policy in North Korea was to install North Korean Communists in key positions swiftly after the War ended to reinforce Communist rule in the northern half of the country.
10/10/1945, The Communist Party of Korea was founded. North Korea observes Party Foundation Day every October 10 as a national holiday.
6/9/1945, A leftist committee led by Woon Hyung Lyuh proclaimed itself the official Government of an independent South Korea. However the US under Lieutenant John R Hodge, Commanding General of US forces in Korea, refused to recognise this Government. The US wanted to establish a trusteeship to supersede both the US military administration in the South and the Soviet-backed administration in the North. The Korean Government in exile declared itself as a political party, not the government.
11/8/1945, The US drafted General Order No.1, providing for Japanese forces in Korea north of the 38th parallel to surrender to the Soviets; those south of the 38th parallel to surrender to the Americans. The Soviets began to seal off the North at the 38th parallel, whilst the US was keen to halt any further southwards penetration by Russian soldiers.