China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong: historical events
Page last modified 18/11/2020
China-Opium War 1839-42
‘Unequal’ Trade Treaties
China Boxer Rebellion 1899-1901
Russia-Japan War 1904-05
Japan-China War 1931-38
World War Two 1939-45
28/8/2020, Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister, resigned, having broken the previous length of service record by four days.
15/6/2020, Tensions along the ill-defined and disputed Himalayan border between India and China escalated. India accused China of annexing the Galwan Valley, some 60 square miles. China accused India of building military roads into disputed areas and of attempting to control more of Kashmir, including an area ceded by Pakistan to China that India claims. Some 20 soldiers died, mainly through falling into icy gorges.
24/11/2019, Elections were held in Hong Kong, after weeks of often-violent protests against the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, and her changes to the extradition laws. Opposition candidates won 17 of the 18 councils, having controlled none previously.
12/8/2019, After several weeks of low-key protests in Hong Kong, against a new law permitting extradition to mainland China (despite the ‘One Country Two Systems arrangement instituted in 1997 for 50 years) the unrest escalated after a woman was shot in the eye by a police beanbag round during demonstrations at Hong Kong Airport.
16/6/2019, Large protests in Hong Kong over a proposed new rule allowing extradition to mainland China. These protests continued on into July, although the new law was ‘suspended’.
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.
14/3/2011, Fears of a meltdown at Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan. See Japan earthquake.
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.
2005, Japanese Prime Minister Junchiro Koizumi called a general election 2 years early after Bills to privatise Japan Post were voted down in the Upper House.The incumbent Liberal Democratic Party were re-elected with a landlide victory.
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.
2003, Japan sent troops to support the USA in the invasion of Iraq. This was the first time Japanese soldiesr had operated in a war zone since World war two, and it drew protests from those who felt this violated Japan’s pacifist stance.
1/6/2003, China began filling the Three Gorges Dam, raising the water level by over 100 metres.
2001, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party appointed populist right-winger Junichito Koizumi as Prime Minister. Controversially, he paid homage at a memorial to Japan’s war dead. Tanaka Mikiko became Japan’s first female Foreign Minister.
27/12/2001, China was granted permanent normal trade status with the USA.
11/12/2001. China joined the World Trade Organisation, following 15 years of negotiations.
16/7/2001, China and Russia signed a treaty of friendship.
2000, In Taiwan the Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chen Shui-bian became the country’s first non-Kuomintang President.
2000, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi fell into a coma and was replaced by Yoshiro Mori. The Liberal Democratic Party remained in power, with its coalition oartners, after the 6/2000 general elections. Unemployment rose above 5% for the first time since World War Two.
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.
1996, Japan repealed its Eugenic Protection Laws, under which females deemed to have mental disabilities could be forcibly sterilised.
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.
17/1/1995. 5.46 am, local time, earthquake in Kobe, southern Japan, killed 6,433, and injured 27,000. The quake measured 7.2 on the Richter Scale and made 300,000 homeless. Cost of damage was estimated at £63 billion. It was the worst quake to hit Japan since Tokyo, 1923.
3/9/1994, The USSR and China agreed to stop targeting nuclear missiles at each other.
1993, In Japan the Social Demicratic Party lost power after a 38-year rule. Corruption scandals were a major factor in this defeat.
13/12/1993, A fire in textile factory in Fuzjou China, killed 60.
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.
19/12/1992, The first democratic General Elections in Taiwan (see 1986). The incumbent Kuomintang won, with 53% of the vote, but the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made significant inroads. See 2000.
9/7/1992, Chris Patten, last British Governor of Hong Kong, took office; the colony was to be handed back to China in 1997.
18/1/1992, Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping stated that China should continue to focus on improving its economy, even at the ‘cost of embracing certain capitalistic models and ideas’. This was a marked reversal of the ideas of Chairman Mao.
23/5/1991, Chinese authorities marked the 40th anniversary of their ‘liberation’ of Tibet with low-key celebrations..
1990, Japan amended its immigration law, opening up the labour market to foreign workers. This was in response to chronic labour shortages caused by a rapidly falling birth rate and ageing population.
1990, The Shanghai Stock Exchange reopened, after a 41-year closure.
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.
4/4/1990, The Chinese People’s Congress approved the Basic Law, effectively a Constitution for Hong Kong after the transfer from Britain to China.
13/1/1990, China lifted martial law, imposed 11 months earlier after the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.
23/12/1989, The Bank of Japan announced a major interest rate rise, leading to the peak and bursting of the Japanese ‘bubble’ economy.
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.
3/7/1989, Britain stated there would be no automatic right of abode in the UK for Hong Kong citizens concerned about life under future Chinese rule.
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, 55, succeeded him.
1/12/1988, The Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qian Qichen, visited Moscow.
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.
14/3/1988, Three days of conflict between China and Vietnam began over the disputed Spratly Islands.
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. Lee Teng Hui became President of Taiwan. The first Taiwan-born leader of the country, he was a reforming technocrat who accelerated the pace of economic liberalisation.
24/11/1987, Li Peng succeeded Zhao Ziyang as Chinese Prime Minister.
25/10/1987, At the 13th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, Deng Xiaopoing resigned as Party leader.
27/9.1987, Nationalist demonstrations broke out in Lhasa, Tibet, against Chinese rule there imposed
in 1950 (see 7/10/1950). Furthermore, China had been encouraging poor Han Chinese to resettle in Tibet, competing for job opportunities and housing with poorer indigenous Tibetans. The Chinese were at first taken by surprise, having believed that the Tibetans were subjugated and pacified.
14/7/1987, Taiwan legalised opposition Parties. Martial law was also lifted, for the first time in 38 years, and the press was granted freedom.
13/4/1987, Portugal and China agreed to the return of Macao to China in 1999.
1986, First legally-recognised opposition Party was formed in Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This was after some 40 years as a One Party State, ruled by the Nationalist Kuomintang Government. See 19/12/1992.
12/10/1986, Queen Elizabeth II visited China, the first British monarch to visit the country.
16/9/1985, In China, 10 Politburo members and 64 members of the Central Committee resigned to make way for younger replacements.
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.
12/10/1983, The Chinese Communist Party began its biggest purge of membership since the Cultural revolution. The records of 40 million Party members were to be reviewed. The Anti Spiritual Pollution Campaign was launched, 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.
25/5/1983, The USA agreed to export high-technology items to China.
15/4/1983, The first non-American Disney theme park opened, near Tokyo.
1/9/1982, At the 12th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, Hua Guofeng, who had succeeded Chairman Mao, was removed from the Politburo.
25/1/1981. The Chinese ‘Gang of Four’ and Mao Tse Tung’s 67 year old widow were sentenced to death.
20/11/1980, The trial for treason of the Gang of Four former Chinese leaders opened in Beijing.
26/8/1980, Leadership changes in China consolidated the power of pragmatic reformers led by Deng Xiaopoing.
1979, The US passed the Taiwan Relations Act, committing the USA to defending Taiwan against an attack by China – however if Taiwan provoked China first, by for example declaring full independence, then the USA would not be committed to defending Taiwan.
26/10/1979, President Park Chung Hee of South Korea was assassinated by his secret service.
7/10/1979, In Japanese general elections, the Liberal Democrat Party won a narrow victory.
26/7/1979, Former Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka was arrested on charges of taking a large bribe from Lockheed.
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.
5/12/1976, In Japan, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party suffered losses in the general election.
29/10/1976, Chairman Hua of China repudiated messages of congratulations from Communist countries.
11/10/1976. In China the ‘Gang of Four’ were arrested, accused of plotting a coup.
7/10/1976, In China, Hua Guofeng succeeded Mao Zedong as Chairman. The ‘Gang of Four’, including Mao’s widow, were arrested and denounced for plotting to seize power.
9/9/1976. Mao Zedong, 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 fierce typhoon, killing over 200,000 people.
3/6/1975, Eisaku Sato, Japanese politician, died aged 75.
5/4/1975. The Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai Shek died in Taiwan, aged 87.
26/11/1974, Kakuei Tanaka resigned as Prime Minister of Japan after financial scandals emerged.
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.
13/4.1974, End of a strike by 6 million Japanese workers, which had begun on 11/4/1974.
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.
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.
29/9/1972, Japan and China formally ended the state of war between them that had existed since 1937.
13/5/1972, A fire devastated a department store in Osaka, Japan, killing 115 people.
13/3/1972, Britain resumed diplomatic links with China, and closed its consulate in Taiwan.
3/3/1972, Beijing, at a UN speech, claimed the territory of Hong Kong.
24/1/1972, A Japanese soldier, Shoichi Yokoi, was found on Guam, unaware that World War Two had ended. His last two surviving companions had died in 1964. He lived until 1997.
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.
15/7/1971, US President Nixon announced he would visit China in 1972.
15/4/1971, Britain restored the telephone link with China, which had been cut in 1949.
10/4/1971, US table tennis team arrived in China. On 14/4/1971, the US relaxed restrictions on trade and travel with China.
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.
10/7/1970, US Roman Catholic missionary, Bishop James Walsh, was released after 12 years in a Shanghai prison.
30/3/1970, Japanese students hijacked a Boeing 727 and flew to North Korea.
2/3/1969. Soviet and Chinese troops clashed on their border. Chinese troops attempted to occupy Damiansky island, one of the Ussuri river islands ceded by China to Tsarist Russia in 1860. China now maintained that the concession had been unfairly extracted and revoked it. Russia drove off the Chinese invasion.
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.
22/8/1967, Red Guards set fire to the British Embassy in Beijing.
17/6/1967. China exploded its first hydrogen bomb. This raised tensions between China and the USSR.
26/1/1967, Red Guards besieged the Soviet Embassy in Beijing, alleging mistreatment of Chinese students in Moscow.
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.
6/4/1966, Increased ferry tolls sparked riots in Hong Kong.
1965, Tibet was officially made an ‘autonomous 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 Biao 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. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympics.
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.
1963, By the end of 1963, Chairman Mao was calling on all Chinese to ‘Learn from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’. With Lin Biao as Chinese Defence Minister from 1959, the PLA was now centred as the example of self sacrifice and dedication to collective values which all China should follow. The PLA now increasingly dominated Chinese politics.
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.
9/3/1961, The Dalai Lama appealed to the UN to restore the independence of Tibet.
1960, The San Men Dam, Hunag He (Yellow) River, China, was completed.
27/4/1960. Synghman Rhee resigned as President of South Korea.
15/3/1960, Presidential elections in South Korea were won fraudulently by Synghman Rhee, 85; demonstrations across the country forced his resignation on 27/4/1960.
19/1/1960, President Eisenhower of the USA signed a Treaty of Mutual Co-operation and Security with Japan in Washington. This confirmed Japan as an integral member of the anti-Communist alliance.
28/11/1959, The dockyard at Hong Kong closed, after 80 years of operation.
18/10/1959, As China stepped up the persecution of the 20 million Christians within its borders, 68-year-old Bishop James E Walsh was arrested. He was imprisoned until 1971.
22/9/1959. The United Nations refused to admit Communist China.
23/5/1958, China, under Mao, began its Great Leap Forward. Peasant farmers were grouped into huge communes of many thousands of families. Farming families were encouraged to build makeshift steel furnaces using household scrap metal, fuelled by firewood. This was disastrous as time was taken away from food production and the ‘steel’ produced was very substandard. Crops rotted in the fields and some 14 – 40 million people starved to death. This was humiliating for Mao and he eased up on the Reforms until his Cultural Revolution in 1966. After Mao’s death in 1976, leaders such as Deng Xiaoping sought to correct his excesses by breaking up the communes and introducing market reforms.
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.
10/3/1959, Thousands of Tibetans protested in the streets of Lhasa over the influx of Chinese settlers, which had begun when Chinese troops entered eastern Tibet in October 1950.
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.
1956, Chinese characters were simplified in a bid to increase literacy. There was a second round of simplification in 1964.
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.
1955, In Japan, The Liberal Democratic Party was set up.
17/7/1955. The Chinese writer Hu Feng was arrested for publically criticising Communism as having a ‘blighting influence’ on literature.
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.
7/2/1955, The US 7th fleet began an evacuation of 14,000 Chinese Nationalist troops and 18,000 Chinese civilians from the Tachen Islands (see 17/1/1955). The evacuation was completed 6 days later, whereupon the Chinese Communists took over the islands.
24/1/1955, Because of increasing tensions between China and Formosa (Taiwan), US President Eisenhower asked Congress for authority to protect Formosa; it was granted within four days by 409 votes to 3 in the House of Representatives.
17/1/1955, Chinese Communists began a heavy bombardment of Chinese Nationalists on the Tachen Islands just west of Taiwan. The next day Chinese Communist forces occupied the small island of Yikiang, which the Nationalists did not have the firepower to defend.
5/11/1954, Burma and Japan signed a peace treaty.
7/1954, Defence of Hokkaido Island, excepting air and radar units, passed from the US to the Japanese military. The size limit of the Japanese military was raised from 120,000 to 165,000, and a ban on the employment of former officers of the Jaopanese Imperial Army was removed.
8/3/1954, The US and Japan signed a mutual defence pact.
27/9/1953, Japan established a national defence force.
15/6/1953, Chinese leader Xi Jinping was born onto a well-connected political family; his father was Xi Zhongxun.
25/10/1952, The USA blocked the entry of China to the United Nations for the third year running. See 25/10/1971.
2/10/1952, China held a ‘Asia and Pacific Peace’ Conference, attended by delegates from 37 countries.
17/8/1952, A large Chinese delegation, led by Zhou Enlai, visited the USSR for discussions.
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.
29/3/1951, The US completed a draft Peace Treaty with Japan, which was circulated to the Allied Powers.
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. China has always feared that if it did not control Tibet, India might gain influence there, giving it not only control of much of China’s water supply but also a commanding high position over the Chinese plains to the east.
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.
30/7/1949, The HMS Amethyst successfully sailed 140 miles down the Yangtse River overnight to escape Chinese Communist forces, see 20/4/1949.
7/1949, Evacuation of Japanese civilians from the Kuril Islands (Etorofu, Kunashir), and their relocation on Hokkaido, was now complete.
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.
12/11/1948, The main War Crimes trials ended in Japan. Hideki Tojo and 6 others were sentenced to death by hanging; 16 received life imprisonment, and 2 were given shorter prison terms. The hangings were carried out on 23/12/1948.
29/10/1948, Chinese Communist forces captured the important city of Mukden, and its arsenal, from Kuomintang forces.
7/10/1948, In Japan, Shigeru Yoshida formed a Democratic-Liberal Government.
1/9/1948. The North China People’s Republic was formed by the Communists, under Chairman Mao.
7/1947,Evacuation of Japanese families living on the islands of Etorofu and Kunashir, Japanese territory before World War Two but now occupied by Soviet troops. Families were given 24 hours notice to pack and leave. They were taken by ship to Sakhalin, another larger island once divided between Japan and Russia but now entirely Russian-occupied, then relocated on the Japanese northernmost island of Hokkaido. Many of these families buried valuable items in their gardens, expecting to return soon to retrieve them.
3/5/1947, A new Constitution was approved in Japan by means of a referendum. Women voted in Japan for the first time. The Emperor’s powers were limited, and the country renounced the use of war.
12/1946, Russia began relocating several thousand settlers to the southern portion of Sakhalin, formerly Japanese territory but now Soviet-occupied.
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.
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.
5/11/1944. The Japanese cruiser Nachi was sunk in Manila Bay by U.S. aircraft.
27/10/1944, The Japanese fleet suffered a crushing defeat in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, effectively ending its role as a fighting force. The Japanese lost 300,000 tons of combat ships as against US losses of just 37,000 tons. This was the world’s largest naval battle, which began on 22/10/1944, involving a total of 231 ships and 1996 aircraft.
25/10/1944, US escort carrier St Lo became the first ship sunk by a Japanese kamikaze attack.
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.
18/6/1944, The Japanese 11th Army occupied the Chinese cities of Changsha and Chuchow.
15/6/1944. Air raids on Japan hit steel mills at Yawata.
18/4/1944, The 5th Brigade attacked Japanese defences near Kohima.
14/4/1944, British forces overcame a Japanese roadblock near Zubza, western Kohima trail, relieving the besieged 161st Indian Brigade.
12/4/1944, Japanese forces cut the road between Kohima and Imphal.
24/3/1944, Orde Wingate, British Army Commander who created and led the Chindits in Burma, was killed in a plane crash in the rainforest in Assam. The Chindits, from the Burmese for ‘mighty lion’ struck deep behind Japanese lines, destroying railways and bridges.
7/3/1944, Japan launched an offensive from Burma into India.
21/2/1944. Hideki Tojo became Chief of Staff of the Japanese Army.
19/2/1944, The US Submarine Jack attacked a Japanese convoy 428 km west of Luzon, sinking four vessels.
4/2/1944. US warships shelled the Japanese homeland; the island of Paramishu.
31/1/1944, US forces made major amphibious landings on the Marshall Islands.
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.
15/8/1943. US forces landed on Kiska Island, Aleutians. However the Japanese forces they expected to find there had already evacuated under cover of foggy nights in June 1943.
29/6/1943, US forces landed in New Guinea.
2/6/1943, US troops completed the recapture of Attu Island, Aleutian Islands, from Japan.
11/5/1943, US forces began to recapture Attu in the Aleutian Islands, from Japan.
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.
17/12/1942, The US submarine Drum mined the waters around Japan.
11/1/1943, Britain made a treaty with China, renouncing all British territorial rights in China.
19/12/1942. British troops advanced in the Malay peninsula, pushing the Japanese back into Burma.
23/11/1942, Lieutenant General Tomitaro Horii of Japan died. He was replaced by Hataze Adachi. The Japanese in New Guinea were already in retreat by now, under heavy attack by US forces, and had lost Rabaul air base to the Allies.
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.
18/8/1942, Japanese troops landed at Taivu, 32 km east of Guadalcanal, as a diversionary operation.
10/8/1942, US submarine S-44 sank the Japanese heavy cruiser Kako near Kavieng, as it withdrew from the Battle of Savo Island.
8/8/1942, 7 Japanese warships and 1 cruiser set sail from Rabaul to attack US transport ships off Savo Island.
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.
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.
20/2/1942, Bali, east of Java, was invaded by Japan.
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.
23/1/1942, Japanese forces captured the port of Rabaul, New Britain.
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.
1/1/1942, The British withdrew from Sarawak.
25/12/1941. Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese. 6,000 troops laid down arms after a 7-day battle.
22/12/1941, General Wavell met with Chiang Kai Shek at Chonqquing.
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.
18/12/1941, British and Dutch forces occupied East Timor. Malaya was evacuated and the Japanese attacked Hong Kong.
17/12/1941. Sarawak, Borneo, was invaded by the Japanese.
14/12/1941, Japan and Siam (Thailand) signed a ten-year co-operation treaty.
13/12/1941, The Japanese controlled the mainland area of Hong Kong, and Kowloon; Hong Kong Island was still British-held.
12/12/1941. The Japanese captured the island of Guam, see 20/7/1944.
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.
9/12/1941, US air force bombed Luzon, Philippines.
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. Hitler, meanwhile, was pleased because he imagined that this would distract the US away from the War in Europe.
26/11/1941, Japanese naval forces set sail for Pearl Harbour
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.
1/8/1941, The US imposed an embargo on oil sales to Japan.
30/7/1941, The US gunboat Tutuila was bombed by Japanese aircraft. Japan later apologised for the incident.
29/7/1941, The Vichy French Government gave Japanese forces use of the air bases in Indo China.
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.
5/6/1941, Heavy Japanese air raid on Chonqquing, where the Chinese Nationalists had moved their capital to in 1937 when the Japanese invaded China. Many died of suffocation as the underground tunnels they were sheltering in collapsed.
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.
22/7/1940, In Japan, Prince Fumimaro Konoe, out of office since 1939, was reappointed Prime Minister. He declared his intention to establish a ‘New Order’ across East Asia.
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.
10/1/1938, Japan captured the Chinese port of Qingdao.
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. They massacred over 100,000 of the city’s population.
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.
22/3/1934, Major fire in Hakodate, Japan, killed 1,500 people.
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.
1930, Japan adopted the Western metric system of weights and measures.
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.
2/7/1929, The Giichi Tanaka Government in Japan fell.
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.
10/11/1928, Hirohito was ernthroned as the 124th Emperor of Japan, continuing a line dating back to 660 BCE. He ruled until his death in 1989, aged 87.
6/10/1928. Chiang Kai-Shek became President of Nationalist China.
22/7/1928. Japan severed all relations with China.
19/7/1928, China annulled the ‘unequal treaties’ formerly made with European powers.
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.
7/9/1927, Mao Tse Tung led a Communist uprising in the rural province of Hunan.
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.
16/10/1926, A troopship exploded on the Yangtze River, China, killing 1,200 people.
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.
22/3/1925, Radio broadcasting began in Japan.
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.
25/10/1924, In China, President Tsao Kun resigned.
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.
1/9/1923. An earthquake magnitude 7.9 in Japan left the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama in ruins and killed over 300,000 people. The epicentre was just outside Tokyo. Half of Tokyo’s houses were destroyed, a million of its people made homeless, and 132,807 killed in Tokyo alone. Altogether 143,000 died and 2.5 million were made homeless.
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.
7/1922, The Japanese Communist Party was formed, as a branch of the Comintern. It remained an illegal organisation with few members until 1945. In Japanese elections in 1946 the Japanese Communist Party secured 2.1 million votes and 5 seats in the Lower House. The Party was again suppressed in the 1950s with the outbreak of the Korean War. Subsequently the Party, relegalised, gradually gained ground and in 1980 secured 20 seats woth nearly 10% of the vote.
3/3/1922, Over 1,000 Japanese Burakumin (a hereditary class of social outcasts, who performed menial and despised tasks such as slaughterers, executioners and tanners) formed the Suiheisha, or National Levellers Association. They appealed for equal Human Rights in Japanese society. Their numbers grew to over 40,000, but they became notorious for kidnappings and mock trials of those believed to have discriminated against the Burakumin. Eventually growing Japanese Nationalism forced the Suiheisha to disband in 1940.
4/2/1922, Japan agreed to return the Shandong Peninsula to China, whilst retaining some mines and commercial interests.
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.
1/6/1921, The Chinese Communist Party was founded.
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, which were violently suppressed by the Japanese.
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.
14/3/1917, China broke off diplomatic relations with Germany.
6/7/1916. Russia and Japan signed a peace treaty.
22/3/1916, In China, President Yuan Shikai died.
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.
5/11/1913, A joint declaration by Russia and China recognising the autonomy of Outer Mongolia (Mongolia) under Chinese suzerainty.
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, Meiji Emperor Mutsuhito died aged 60, after a 45-year reign during which Imperial power was restored to Japan (the Meiji Restoration). He was succeeded by his son, Yoshihito, aged 33, who reigned until 1926.
14/4/1912, China's President Yuan Shih-kai issued a manifesto asking the five separate race groups in the nation to unite through intermarriage.
4/4/1912. A Chinese Republic was declared in Tibet.
3/1912, The Japanese Tourist Bureau was formed, now known as the Japan Travel Bureau.
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.
7/12/1911, China abolished men’s pigtails.
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.
28/6/1911, Japan signed a commercial treaty with France.
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.
3/4/1911, Japan and Britain signed a commercial treaty.
21/2/1911, Japan and the US signed a commercial treaty in Washington.
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.
31/1/1910. China abolished slavery. In 1906 Chou Fu, Viceroy at Nanking, called on the Emperor of China to abolish slavery. At that time all Chinese citizens had tio belong to one of four clsasses. These were 1) the Bannermen (ruling class, 2) Free Chinese subjects, 3) Outcasts, 4) Slaves; there were severe penalties for not fulfilling the duties of their class. Fu’s recommendations were finally accepted in 1910, despite opposition from Manchu nobles. However the former slaves were still compelled to live in their ,master’s households for the rtest of their lives, although as ‘free labourers’.
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. The Korean Emperor Kojong (I T’ae Wang) who had ruled since 1864 abdicated 19/7/1907, aged 55 under pressure from Japan, who was occupying Korea.
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.
20/9/1906, In China, an imperial edict ordered the end of the use of heroin within 10 years.
27/4/1906. China reluctantly granted Britain control of Tibet, following the occupation of the capital Lhasa by British troops.
11/4/1906, Having occupied Taiwan since the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, Japan now appointed military commander Sakuma Samata to ‘control and pacify’ the island’s aboriginal population. Tribal land was confiscated and entire villages forcibly relocated; resistance was countered by collective punishment. Villages were bombed and hit with nerve gas, And concentration camps set up behind electrified fences.
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.
6/3/1904, Japan bombarded Vladivostok.
10/2/1904. Night attack by the Japanese crippled the Russian fleet at Port Arthur.
9/2/1904, Japan landed troops at Chemulpo (Inchon), near Seoul, Korea; within three weeks they had advanced to the Yalu River, border of Manchuria.
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; if one country was attacked the other guaranteed to remain neutral, and furthermore if a second country attacked, each would aid 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.
7/1/1902, Following the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion, the Chinese Imperial Court returned to Beijing.
7/12/1901, Japan abandoned negotiations with Russia, and started to arrange an alliance with Britain.
25/11/1901, Prince Hirobumi Ito of Japan, whilst visiting St Petersburg, sought Russian acceptance of Japanese claims in 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.
3/8/1901, Pavel Mil, Soviet administrator who guided the development of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1920s, was born.
29/4/1901. Birth of Crown Prince Hirohito. Later Emperor of Japan.
2/4/1901, A proposed agreement between Russia and China for Russian occupation of Manchuria was cancelled by China, after Chinese appeals for support from Britain, Japan and Germany. For details see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchuria
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.
30/6/1900, European troops, also from the US and Japan, occupied Tianjin, as the Boxer Rebellion progressed.
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.
3/6/1900, The railway between Beijing and Tianjin was cut by Boxer rebels.
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.
30/6/1897, The Shanghai Foot Emancipation Society was founded. It was one of several such organisations dedicated to eliminating the custom of foot-binding which had been practiced on young aristocratic Chinese girls, leaving them in some cases scarcely able to walk. This practice dated from the 10th century AD; in China bound (small) feet were considered a mark of beauty, and also a sign that the woman was wealthy enough not to have to work. It also made her totally dependent upon her husband. As Christianity penetrated China in the 1880s a move to make women equal in status to men began, and to eliminate foot-binding. The Hundred Days Reform in 1898 also aimed to stop this practice. By 1899 some 800,000 Chinese people has joined anti-foot-binding societies. However the practice continued into the 20th century, and in 1949 the Communist administration found it necessary to ban the practice, still underway in remote rural areas. China retains a ban on foot-binding today.
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.
28/10/1891, A severe earthquake hit Osaka, Japan; 10,000 were killed.
31/10/1887, Chiang Kai-Shek, Chinese military leader and politician, was born in Fenghua, Chekiang province.
9/6/1885, The Treaty of Tientsin was signed, under which China recognised the French Protectorate of Indo-China in return for France agreeing to respect China’s southern border. See 26/10/1884.
17/11/1884. Chinese Turkestan was given provincial status, and renamed Xinjiang, or New Frontier.
26/10/1884, China declared war on France after France bombarded Taiwan as reprisal for China’s refusal to acknowledge the French Protectorate of Indo-China, see 9/6/1885.
11/9/1883, Anti-European riots in Canton, China
25/8/1883, A Treaty was signed at Hue recognising Tonkin, Cochin China and Annam as French Protectorates. However China rejected the Treaty and resisted French interference in the region.
22/5/1882, The USA signed a treaty with Korea recognising its independence from China, Russia, and Japan.
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.
22/2/1875, Tensions between London and Beijing increased after Augustus Margary, a British official, was killed by bandits close to the Burma-China border.
1/1875, Chinese Emperor Mu Zung died aged 19. He was succeeded by his cousin Zaitian as the Guangxu Emperor.
10/1874, China agreed to pay compensation to Japan, and Japan withdrew its invasion force from Taiwan.
4/1874, Japan invaded Taiwan, justifying the action because of the murder of 54 Japoanese sailors who had been shipwrecked there in 1871.
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.
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.
19/7/1864, The British Army under General Gordon assisted Tseng Kuo Fan’s Army to sack Nanjing. Hung Hsiu Chuan committed suicide by poison as over 100,000 were killed, and the Taiping Rebellion was finally ended. See 19/3/1853.
24/10/1860. China gave way to trade demands from Britain and France after fighting. Beijing was captured on 6/10/1860.
18/10/1860, The Old Summer Palace in Beijing was looted, then destroyed and burnt by British soldiers, in revenge for the killing of British negotiators by the Chinese.
6/10/1860, An Anglo-French force invading China captured Peking.
12/8/1860, The French and British bombarded Sinho, to force China to admit their diplomats.
29/6/1858, The Treaty of Tientsin ended the Anglo-Chinese War. China agreed to open up more ports to trade.
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.
7/9/1853, Shanghai fell to rebels as the Taiping Rebellion continued.
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. See 19/7/1864.
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$21million over the next 5 years for the opium they destroyed, which started the war. On 5/4/1843 Queen Victoria proclaimed Hong Kong a British Crown Colony.
26/1/1841. Hong Kong was proclaimed British territory. It was occupied by British troops as the Opium War with China continued. It was ceded by China on 20/1/1841, in what the Chinese termed the ‘Unequal Treaties’. The much larger area known as the ‘New Territories’ was leased from China until 1997. This area contained Hong Kong’s water supplies and the whole territory was returned to China then.
See 5/7/1840, and 29/8/1842.
20/1/1841, Hong Kong was ceded to Britain by China, see 26/1/1841.
5/7/1840. In the Opium War (see 4/9/1839), British naval forces bombarded Dinghai on Zhousan Island and then occupied it. See 26/1/1841. This war is not just about opium but the right to force China to open its ports to British trade.
20/2/1840, In the UK, Palmerston ordered the British Navy to attack China in order to prevent the suppr4ession of the opium trade.
30/1/1840, The Emperor of China, Emperor Daoguang, forbade all trade with Britain. This was an effort to curb the flood of opium entering China.
3/11/1839, Britain began to assemble an expeditionary military force as relations with China deteriorated over the opium trade issue.
4/9/1839. The British fired the first shots on the Chinese in the Opium War, see 24/3/1839. On 3/11/1839 British and Chinese forces clashed near the Bogue Forts at the mouth of the Pearl River. The formal declaration of the Opium War was in June 1840. see 5/7/1840.
24/3/1839. The Chinese blockaded foreign owned opium factories. This was to force the factories to hand over their opium stocks for destruction. The Chinese destroyed 20,000 chests of opium belonging to British traders, worth US$ 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.
10/3/1839, An imperial Chinese official named Lin Zexu arrived at Canton with orders from Emperor Daoguang to eradicate the opium trade.
1799, China made opium illegal.
9/2/1796, Qianlong, 6th emperor of the Qing dynasty and the leader of China at its pre-modern peak of power, size, and prestige, abdicated in the 61st year of his reign in favor of his 35-year-old son. Though, until his death three years later, Qianlong continued to exercise power from behind the scenes, his abdication was crucial to his dynasty’s legitimacy. Qianlong abdicated one day before the length of his reign would have matched that of his illustrious grandfather, Emperor Kangxi. Kangxi’s unprecedentedly long reign was viewed as a kind of golden age, and Kangxi was still held in high regard. For Qianlong to outshine his grandfather would have been viewed as immodest, reflecting badly on the House of Aisin Gor. His abdication preserved respect for the imperial office.
1775, The Yangtze Delta area of China was now the most economically developed region of the country.
1736, Chi’en Lung became Emperor of China aged 25, commencing the Ch’ing Dynasty that endured until 1796. He extended Chinese control far into central Asia. He also spent huge amounts of money on imperial leisure.
8/10/1735, Qianlong succeeded Yongzheng as Emperor of China.
1729, China banned the sale and smoking of opium.
1724, The huge Chinese encyclopedia, Gujin Tushu Jicheng, was printed using movable type.
20/12/1722, Qing Kangxi, Emperor of China, born 1654, died after the longest reign in China.
1720, Tibet became a dependency of China. Apart from foreign and military affairs, China largely left Tibet alone until te 20th century.
1696, China launched an invasion of Outer Mongolia.
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.
5/2/1661, Emperor Kangxi began his reign in China; he ruled for over 61 years.
1650, Death of Prince Dorgon (born 1612). he was the uncle of the child-Emperor and so exercised real power. He made compulsory for all male Chinese the ‘queue’hairstyle,shaved at the front and a pigtail at the back. This clashed with the Confucian ideal that hair,as a gift from your parents,whouldnever be cut. Thousands of Chinese were executed for defying the ‘Queue Order’.
1645, Construction of the Potala Palace, the largest Buddhist monastery in Tibet, began.
25/4/1644, China’s last Ming Emperor committed suicide, as rebels led by Li Zi Cheng reached the gates of Beijing. The Manchu Qing Dynasty began. The Manchus invaded Korea, which became a vassal State to China.
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; then invaded China in 1644.
1634, The English established a trading post at Canton.
1626, Manchu leader Abahai, 8th son of Nurhaci, (1592-1643) succeeded him as ruler.
30/9/1626, Manchu leader Nurhaci died (born 1559)
1625, The Manchus established their capital at Mukden.
1624, The Dutch established a trading post in Taiwan.
3/1619, The Qing defeated the Ming at the Battle of Sarhu.
1616, Manchu leader Nurhaci became Great Jin (khan) of China.
1593, Japan pulled its forces out of Korea following Chinese military intervention. Japanese land forces had prevailed against the Korean army, but well-armoured Korean naval forces had repulsed the Japanese navy. Korea although victorious was devastated,and the cost of intervention bore heavily on China, provoking riots against increased taxation and leaving the country weakened on its strategic north-eastern frontier.
1588, Famine and lawlessness in China.
1581,The ‘Single Whip’ tax reforms in China now entailed all taxes being based on property ownership, as recorded in a central register, and payable in silver. The aim was both to simplify the tax system and to avoid inflation which had been caused by the debasement of a paper currency after the inflow of Spanish and Japanese silver.
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.
8/1517, The Portuguese became the first Europeans to visit Taiwan. They called it Ilha Formosa, meaning ‘beautiful island’.
1500, It became a capital offence for any Chinese to go to sea in a ship with more than two masts, without special permission. This was a further measure aimed at erasing the era of Zheng He’s voyages.
1477, Courtiers tentatively suggested reviving the voyages of Zheng He. In response a group of civil servants led by Liu Daxia destroyed all the records of these voyages they could find, on the grounds that the expense, and lives lost, did not justify the rewards.
1436, Emperor Zhengtong denied a request from Nanjing shipyards for craftsmen to maintain Zheng He’s ships. However Zhengtong was only 9 years old at this time and the real decision was made by his advisors.
1433, Zheng He died (1371-1433) died.
1433, China abrubtly halted its overseas exploration, even banning the construction of seagoing ships. One factor was the cost of these expeditions, draining the Chinese Treasury.
Zheng He’s ships could probably have reached North and South America (although they almost certainly did not), making the Americas a Chinese colony decades before Columbus got there. In fact Columbus might never have sailed, because the large Chinese ships also had the capability to reach Europe, making vassal states in Europe also.
However the great fleet of Zheng He was left to rot at Nanjing shipyards, and in 1436 a request for craftsmen to maintain these ships was denied. By 1500 the ships had rotted beyond repair.
1424, Emperor Yongle died, and his successor’s first act was to halt overseas voyages. The Indian ocean states then stopped sending tribute, so Zheng He was sent out again in 1431.
5/8/1424, Emperor Chu Ti, also known as Yongle 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.
1421, China transferred the capital from Nanjing to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
1416, Zheng He’s ships reached Aden.
1405, Zheng He sailed from Nanjing to Sri Lanka. He led a fleet of nearly 300 ships, with 27,000 sailors.
29/11/1394, The capital city of the Joseon Dynasty in present-day Korea was moved from Gaegyeong (now Gaeseong) to Hanseong (now Seoul).
1392, The Yi Dynasty, which ruled Korea until 1910, was founded by warlord Yi Songgye. He was a General under the Goryo regime.
1/1368, Zhu Yuanzhang, founder of the Ming (= Brilliant) Dyansty, proclaimed himelf Emperor. He made Nanjing the capital of China.
1243, The earliest evidence for footbinding in China; tuny shortened slippers from the tomb of Huang Sheng, a 7-year-old girl buried this year. Original 13 c footbindoing made the feet slimmer, but by the 17 c it was also being used to make the feet shorter, grossly distorting and twisting the toes back under the sole.
1234, The Song Emperor proposed an alliance with the Mongols against the Jurchen. As before, this resulted in the Mongols taking over the Jurchen Empire and bringing China to its knees. However China was saved from total annihilation because Genghiz Khan had died in 1227, replaced by his son Ogodei. Other family members feared that allowing Ogodei to take over China would make him too powerful, so the Mongol chiefs launched major raids into Europe, to distract from the China adventure.
1215, The Mongols under Genghiz Khan raided and burnt Beijing.
1194, The Yellow River burst its banks, once again, destroying the dikes that brought coal and food to Kaifeng, and carried its manufactured products out. This natural disaster had occurred several times before, but now the Chinese State was weakened by wars with the Mongols and Jurchen, and recovery was much harder.
1161, Battle of Zaishi; Southern Song repulsed a Jurchen Jin invasion .This victory, along with that off the Shandong Peninsula, allowed the Song Rmpire to survive another century before its conquest by the Mongols in 1279.
16/11/1161, The Jurchen Jin dynasty planned a seaborne invasion of southern Song China. Some 70,000 soldiers embarked on transport ships. Their commander, Zheng Zia, was not intending to undertake a sea battle, a form of warfare which his horseborne steppe warriors had no experience. However the invasion fleet was intercepted by a squadron of Song warships, commanded by Li Bao, in the islands off the Shandong Peninsula. The Song warships included ‘tower ships’; these had a trebuchet to hurl missiles. They also had inflammable gunpowder missiles that set fire to enemy ships. Many Jurchen soldiers drowned as they leapt off burning ships, including Zheng Zia.
1153, The Jurchen Jin moved their capital from Manchuria to Beijing.
1141, The Jurchen Jin Empire in northen China was established, with the Song Chinese Empire now ruling a reduced territory in the south. The two empires signed the Treaty of Shaoxing and peaxe was established for the enxt 20 years.
1132, China, Song Dynasty, established its first permament navy, at Dinghai.
9/1/1127, Kaifeng in northern China was captured by the Jurchen, after a siege that began in 12/2216,. The Jurchen’s military technology and capability was rapidly developing. They also captured the Song Emperor.
1115, The ‘wild Jurchens’ of Manchuria offered to ally with Emperor Hui Tsung to help fight the Khitans, who also lived to the north of China. This was a tactical error by Hui Tsung, who was more a lover of high culture than a skilled statesman, for soon the Jurchens turned against him and were themselves attacking northern China, see 9/1/1127.
1101, The Chinese Sung Emperor Hui Tsung acceded, aged 19, to begin a 24-year reign.
1071, Eastern Tibet disintegrated into small states, paving the way for penetration by China.
1068, Chinese Emperor Shen Tsung began a 17-year reign. He was a radical reformer.
30/4/1063, Renzong, Emperor of China, died.
1038, The Western Xia in north-west China declared independence.
Winter 1018/19, Some 100,000 Liao soldiers, a mix of Khitan mounted bowmen and Chinese peasand conscripts, began an invasion of Goryo Kingdom, Korea. Goryo had an army twice that soize but most were poorly-trained foot militaia with just basic equipment. Gang Gam Chan, Goryo military commander, failed to stop the Chinese advancing towards the Goryo capital, Kaesung, but subjected them to constant harassment as they advanced further into enemy territory. Tye Khitan commander, Xiao Baiya, became increasingly nervous and finally he turned tail and made for home. The Koreans now attacked the hungry exhausted Chinese as they withdrew; Goryo’s continued existence was assured, and Gang Gasm Chan hailed as a national hero.
1013, Fuel riots in Kaifeng. Ironworks had stripped entire forests around the city for charcoal, driving the price of firewood beyond affordability of many households. Fortunately Kaifeng was close to coal deposits, which were soon after this utilised for fuel.
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. Daoist alchemists had reportedly discovered a crude form of gunpowder as early as 850, whilst loking for the elixir of life, and by 950 this burning black powder was being catapulted as a weapon, although at this date its explosive power was limited.
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.
993, The Khitan, nomadic horsemen from central Asia who now ruled much of northern China, now began attempts to conquer te Korean Kingdom of Goryeo.
979, The Song Dynasty conquered the Northern Han State.
978, The Wu-Yue State suyrrendered to the Song Dynasty.
975, The Song Dynasty conquered the Southern T’ang Kingdom and Hunan province.
971, The Southern Han fell to the Song Dynasty.
965, Northern Song armies conquered the Later Shu Kingdom.
907, In China, fall of the T’ang Dynasty. Zhu Wen established the Later Liang Dynasty. This was the first of northern China’s Five Dynasties; for the next 50 years China was divided into many warring states.
905, The Khitan Empire was set up in southern Manchuria.
902, The Wu State was founded in Yangzhou, southern China by Yang Xingmi.
884, The T’ang Dynasty suppressed the Huang Zhao rebellion, with the help of the Shatuo Turkic tribes. However T’ang power was weakend.
874, Peasant revolt against the T’ang rulers after a severe drought. In 880 Hunag Zhao, a peasant rebel turned General, usurped the throne from the T’ang Emperor.
845, Buddhism was banned in China.
18/11/763, Forces of the Tibetan Empire under Trisong Detsan occupied the T’ang Chinese capital Chang’an for 16 days. Chang’an, formerly a city of one million people, was virtually obliterated.
762, Emperor Tang Xuanzong, sixth emperor of the T’ang Dynasty, ruler 712-756, born 685, died. The 755 rebellion rebellion of An LuShan, a frontier General, forced his abdication. The dynasty was restored, with reduced power, in 763.
However the Turkic rebellion was only curbed by inviting in other Turkic military men in from the steppes and eventually further rebellions and Turkic incursions ensued. Tax revenues fell as disorder grew, and eventually in 907 a warlord ended the T’ang Dynasty by murdering a teenage Emperor and seizing power.
757, General An Lushan was assassinated. However see 762.
755, General An Lushan, rather inevitably, turned on his Chinese ruler Emperor Tang Xuanzong (see 740), creating civil war within China. Xuanzong and Yuhian fled; facing demands from the military for the execution of Yuhuan, Xuanzong had her strangled by his chief eunuch, to keep her out of the soldier’s hands.
7/751, Battle of Talas, on the Talas River in modern-day Kazakhstan. Chinese expansion westwards had met Islamic Arab expansion estwards. Local Uighurs asked the Arabs for protection. The Arab army under Ziadh Ibn Salih was bosletered by Uighurs and Tibetans, giving it numerical superiority over the Chinese forcres led by Korean-born General Gao Xianzhi. The Chinese were attacked in the rear by Turkic nomadic horsemen, the Karluks, and defeated. Many Chinese were taken prisoner, including two experts in papermaking. From the Arab world, papermaking technology then reached the West. Maenwhile China plunged ointo civil war and abandoned iyts expansion intio central Asia, leaving the region to be Islamicised.
746, Emperor Tang Xuanzong began to favour Taoism over Buddhism.
740, Emperor Tang Xuanzong fell in love with a woman known as Guifei (meaning ‘consort; real name Yuhuan) who was formerly his son’s wife. Yuhuan demanded that Xuanzong favour a certain General An Lushan, aTurkic soldier but fighting on the Chinese side. General Lushan was allowed to accumulate great power and huge armies, However see 755.
733, China,under the T’ang Dynasty, now had 17,680 civil servants.
713, The Chinese Emperor Ming Huang acceded to the throne; he ruled until 756. He promoted the arts and learning.
16/12/705, Empress Wu Zhou of China died. Born in 625, she became a junior concubine in the palace of Emperor Taizong 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 Zhou was effective ruler of China. Between 655 and 675 China conquered Korea. In 690 Wu Zhou officially became Empress. In February 705 Chinese government ministers forced her to abdicate in favour of her son, Chung Tsung.
694, Empress Wu Zhou Tian conquered the kingdom of Khotan, western China.
690, Empress Wu Zhou Tian became Empress of China, founding the Zhou Dynasty. She was the only woman in history to rule China. She ruled until her death in 705.
668, The Buddhist Silla Kingdom of Korea, backed up by China, conquered the other two kingdoms on the peninsula, Paekche, and Koguryo in the north, unifying the region. However by the late 700s the Silla Kingdom broke up.
663, Battle of Baekgang. China had remained unable to subdue the Gogyureo Kingdom of Korea, despite growing Chinese power. Hiowever there were two other smaller Koirean kingdoms, Silla and Baekje, and these offered China tye chance to open a second front against Goguryeo. China allied with Silla and fought against Goguryeo and its ally Baekje. Meanwhile Japan felt threatened by growing Chinese power in Korea, and assembled a fgleet to carry 40,000 troops to aid Baekje. At this time Chinese and Silla forces were besieging the the Baekje capital, Churyu. The Jaoanese fleet sailed to the mouth of the Geum River, intendiong to sail upstream to relieve Churyu. However the river estuary was blocked by a smaller Chinese fleet, which sent the Japanese fleet into disarray. The Chinese fired burning arrows at the Japanese ships, setting many on fire and drowning many Japanese sailors. Eventually Baekje was defeated, and Silla went on to contrioo the whole Korean Peninsula. Japan prepared elaborate defences on its home island for a Chinese invasion that never came.
649, Emperor Taizong, second emperor of the T’ang Dynasty, ruler since 627 (born 600), died. He was succeeded by his weak-willed son who was heavily influenced by Empress Wu.
644, The Chinese T’ang Dynasty mounted an invasion of the Goguryo Kingdom in Korea.
639, In Tibet, King Sbrong Tsan Sgam Po introduced Buddhism from India, and founded Lhasa.
630, Emperor Taizong exploited civil strife within the Turkic tribes to extend Chinese rule deeper into the Asian steppes. Meanwhile the Chinese explorer Xuanzang reached India on his overland travels west. He returned to China having visited as far west as what is now Persia, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan in 645.
627, Chinese Emperor Kao Tsu abdicated after a 9-year reign. He was succeeded by his son who ruled as Emperor Taizong until 649.
624, The T’ang Court officially adopted Buddhism. The Emperors’s son, Taizong, subdued rebellons in northern China,consolidating their power.
621, In China, an imperial bureau was established to regulate the manufacture of porcelain.
618, In China the T’ang Dynasty began; it lasted until 907. This dynasty was founded by an official of the Sui Dynasty, Li Yuan, who now began ruling as Emperor Kao Tsu (meaning, High Progenitor).
617, Sui Gong Di succeeded Sui Yang Di as Emperor of China.
615, Turkic tribes invaded China.
612, Koguryo, in modern-day Korea, opened negotiations with the Turkic tribes to raid China; the Sui Emperor of China was forced to act, and sent a large army to vanquish Koguryo. However poor planning, bad leadership and adverse weather ensured the failure of the Chinese force. In 613 the Emperor sent a second army, with the same result, and again this happened to a third army in 614. The ongoing costs of raising a fourth army brought about rebellions in China that rocked the State.
604, Death of Emperor Wen Di. Accession of Emperor Yang Di. His rule was despotic and he was deposed in 617.
4/8/598, Emperor Sui Wen Di ordered his youngest son, Yang Liang, to conquer Korea during the rainy season, with a Chinese army (300,000 men).
589, Emperor Sui Wen Di, first Sui Emperor, conquered southern China. Northern State power now combined with southern rice resources.
587, End of the Nan Liang Dynasty.
585, Emperor Xiaojing succeeded Emperor Xiaoming as ruler of the Nan Liang Dynasty.
579, End of the Northern Qi Dynasty.
565, Hou Zhu succeeded Wu Cheng Di as ruler of the Northern Qi Dynasty.
562, Nan Xiao Ming Di succeeded Nan Liang Xuan Di as ruler of the Nan Dynasty.
561, Wu Cheng Di succeeded Xiao Zhao Di as ruler of the Northern Qi Dynasty.
557, Start of the Northern Zhou Dynasty; the first ruler was Xiao Min Di. In southern China the Liang Dynasty ended, and the Chen Dynasty began; the first Chen ruler was Chen Wu Di.
556, End of the Western Wei Dynasty.
555, Start of the Nan Lang Dynasty; the first ruler was Nan Liang Xuan Di. Liang Yuan Di was succeeded by Liang Zheng Yang Hou and then Liang Jing Di.
554, Wei Ging Di succeeded Wei Fei Di as ruler of the Western Wei.
551, Liang Yuan Di succeeded Liang Yu Zhang Wang as ruler of the Liang Dynasty.
550, In northern China the Eastern Wei Dynasty was replaced by the Northern Qi Dynasty. Qi Wen Xuan was the first Northern Qi ruler..
549, Emperor Jin Wen succeeded Emperor Wu as ruler of the Liang Dynasty.
534, The Northern Wei Kingdom split into east and western States. The east was the more innovating part; the west remained traditionalist.
532, Xiao Wu Di succeeded An Ding Wan as ruler of the Northern Wei Dynasty.
530, Guang Wang succeeded Xiao Zhuang Di as ruler of the Northern Wei Dynasty.
528, Xiao Zhuang Di succeeded Xiao Ming Di as ruler of the Northern Wei Dynasty.
522, The earliest known pagoda in China was built at the Sung Yuen Temple in Honan. The structure derived from the tall Indian stupa.
502, End of the Southern Qi Dynasty. End of the rule of Qi He Di. Start of the Liang Dynasty. Chinese Emperor Liang Wu Di began a 47-year reign.
501, Qi He Di succeeded Qi Dong Hun Hou as ruler of the Southern Qi Dynasty.
500, There were now about ten million Buddhists in China.
496, The ruling Tuoba family of the Northern Wei Dynasty changed their name to Yuan.
479, End of the Song Dynasty; start of the Southern Qi Dynasty in southern China. Qi Gao Di was the first ruler of the Qi Dynasty.
471, Xiao Wen Di succeeded Xian Wen Di as ruler of the Northern Wei.
465, Song Qian Fei Di and then Song Ming Di became rulers of the Song Dynasty.
452, Tai Wu Di was succeeded by Nan An Wang, and then by Wen Cheng Di, as ruler of the Northern Wei.
450, Death of Cui Hao, main architect of the Northern Wei administrative reforms.
439, The Northern Wei Kingdom began to unite the whole of northern China.
430, Emperor Feng Ba was succeeded as ruler by Feng Hong as Emperor of the Northen Yan; one of the states competing for control of China.
427, The Korean King Changsu made Pyongyang the capital of the country.
424, Song Wen Di succeeded Song Shao Di as Song Emperor.
416, Emperor Gong succeeded Emperor An of the Jin Dynasty.
400, There were now about one million Buddhists in China. However in the politically-unstable north of China the Buddhists tended to cluster in the cities for protection. This rendered them liable to government control. In 400 the Northern Wei, strongest of the northern Chinese kingdoms, set up a government department to ‘supervise’ Buddhists, and in 446 began persecution of them. In southern China the Buddhists enjoyed more freedom, and in 402 an Emperor even no longer required them to bow to him.
396, Emperor An succeeded Emperor Xiaowu as ruler of the Jin Dynasty.
393, Gao Zu succeeded Tai Zu as Emperor of the Later Qin Empire in China.
380s, The Kingdom of the Northern Wei (also known as the Tuoba Wei, after the Tuoba clan, who governed the State) was set up by the Xianbei. They reunified northern China.
383, At the Battle of Feishui (Fei River), the Jin Dynasty defeated the Former Qin Dynasty. Fu Jian, founder of the Former Qin Dynasty dynasty, had expanded his rule into territories north of the Yangtse River, then turned his attention southwards.He took the Jin satellite States of Former Yan and Sichuan, then found further expansion blocked by the Eastern Jin . Xiaowu of the Eastern Jin could only muster an army of 80,000 to meet the Former Qin army of 900,000; however Xiaowu’s army was well disciplined, against Fu Jian’s largely reluctant-conscript army,many recruited from conquered territories. The two armies met on opposite banls of the Fei River, with Fu Jian on the north bank. The river was too deep to ford at this point, so the armies could not engage. The Jin Generals sent a message to the Qin camp asking them to move upriver to a point where they could do battle. The Qin commanders were sceptical, because moving their huge 900,000 strong army would be logistically difficult, but they agreed, confident of destroying the smaller 80,000 Jin army when they did meet. However Fu Jian’s troops, undisciplined, were unnerved by the move, and the Jin shouted out that it was a retreat; this rumour spread amongst the Qin troops and soon it was believed by all of them. Fu Jian’s army fled in a hopeless disorganised rabble, and was slaughtered by the Jin.
365,In China, Emperor Fei succeeded Emperor Ai.
361, In China, Emperor Ai succeeded Emperor Mu,
350, One region in northern China slaughtered over 200,000 central Asians in an orgy of ethnic cleansing. Between 265 and 287, over 250,000 central Asians had migrated into China as climate change made the central Asian steppes colder and drier. These new arrivals were sometimes welcomed for the extra manpower they provided; at other times they were seen as a political threat to the State.
349, The Mou-Jong (Mongols) conquered northern China.
316, The Xiongnu sacked the city of Chang’an, capitalof the Chinese Western Jin Dynasty. Jin Mindi, Emperor, (acceded 313) surrendered, ending the dynasty.
314, The Jin Dynasty abandoned northern China to the Xiongnu.
311, Luoyang, the Chinese capital,was sacked by a confederation of barbarians led by the Huns.The Chinese Emperor was captured.
307, Jin Huai Di became Emperor of China.
304, The Hun Lui Yan invaded China and established the Han Kingdom,beginning the Sixteen Kingdoms Era in China.
291, The Western Jin allowed steppe people from north of the Great Wall to settle inside China’s borders.
290, Jin Hui Di succeeded Jin Wu Di as Emperor of China.
280,The Wu Kingdom was subsumed by the Jin Dynasty, ending the Three Kingdoms Period. China was now united again under Sima Yao.
274, The Jin Dynasty conquered the Eastern Wu.
264, Sun Hao succeeded Sun Xiu as ruler of the Wu Kingdom.
263, The Wei Kingdom conquered the Shu Han Kingdom.
260, Nanjing University was founded.
249, Collapse of the Wei Dynasty. Its territory was taken by the Western Jin.
243, Sun Liang became ruler of the Kingdom of Wu.
239, In the Chinese Wei Kingdom, Qi Wang succeeded Wei Ming Di.
234, Zhuge Liang’s Fifth Northern Expedition. Liang’s commander Sima Yi had organised food supplies. Sima Yi, Wei Kingdom, established an impregnable position along the Wei River, and gradually wore down the Shu forces ina series of pinprick raids. The Shu army was also hit by disease and food shortages. Zhuge Liang himself died in his camp. Demoralised, the Shu army began a retreat to carry their revered leader’s body hume. Sima Yi hesitated to pursue, unsure whether :Liang was really dead, or it was a ploy to lure him into a fight and defeat him. In any case the Shu fell to infighting as they straggled back south in disarray.
228, Zhuge Liang, Shu Kingdom, began a series of ‘Northern Expeditions’ to defeat the Wei and reunify China. There were major logistical problems, including marches through rugged terrain and sparse food supplies.
226, Death of Chinese Emperor Cao Pi (born 186).
222, The Wu Kingdom was established.
220, End of the Eastern Han Dynasty.It was succeeded by the Three Kingdoms (, Wei Wu, and Shu Han) and then the Jin Dynasty. Cao Cao’s son Cao Pi forced Xiandi to abdicate; by 222, Cao Pi, Liu Bei and Sun Quan all declared themselves Emperor; the unity of China under the Han Dynasty was over.
208, Battle of the Red Cliffs. Han Dynasty Minister Cao Cao attempted to subdue rebellious warlords Lui Bei and Sun Quan in the south of China. Cao Cao needed to win control of the Yangtze River, but his army was unused to naval fighting. He advanced to the Yakngtze overland, then captured a fleet of river boats, and sailed down to meet the warlords. However Cao Cao’s army was unable to fight on moving ship decks, and encountered unfamiliar diseases in southern China, causing many to fall sick. Cao Cao lashed some ships together to stabilise the decks but Zhou Yu, commander of the warlords’ armies, then sent fireships into Cao Cao’s immobilised fleet. The massive casulaties this caused, and mass illness, caused Cao cao to decide on a rapid retreat north. China then became divided into the Three Kingdoms, led by the three combatants at Red Cliffs; Cao Cao in Wei, Liu in Shu, and Sun in Wu.
190, Accession of Xiandi, the last Han Emperor.
189, Eunuch rule in China ended by General Dong Zhuo.
184, A rebellion by the Yellow Turban peasants weakened the Han Dynasty.
168, Accession of Emperor Lingdi (ruled to 189). He was aged 12 upon accession, and Duo Maio was appointed Regent. However Duo Miao was concerned at the power of the Eunuch Faction and plotted to have them massacred. The plot was betrayed and Duo Maio was forced to commit suicide. Several hundred of Duo Miao’s supporters were executed, and the power of the Eunuch Faction was greatly increased. The Han Empire was in serious decline.
146, Accession of Emperor Huandi (ruled to 168).
125, Chinese General Pan Yong reconquered the Tarom Basin from the Hsuing-Nu of central Asia.
125, Chinese Emperor Shaodi was assassinated by the Eunuch Faction, who were increasing in power.
89, The northern Hsuing-Nu confederation collapsed, allowing Chna to regain control under General Bao (32 -102). Bao became Protector-General of the Western Region, controlling the Silk Road.
88, The Han Dynasty abolished the State monopolies on iron and salt.
58, Emperor Ming-Ti of China introduced Buddhism.
48, Guang Wu Di re-established Chinese rule over Inner Mongolia.
27, The Red Eyebrow Movement was defeated.
25, Accession of Emperor Gengshi; he was overthrown before the end of the year, and replaced by Guang Wu Di. Gengshi failed to mollify the Red Eyebrows, and he also alienated the nobility and beaurocrats by moving the Chinese capital from Luoyang back west to Chang’an.
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, the so-called Red Eyebrows, joined forces with Han loyalists and 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. His attempts to curb usury and promote social welfare had aroused considerable hostility.
17, China imposed a tax on slave-holding.
12, Wang Mang’s land reforms were reversed after major protests.
9, Wang Mang nationalised Chinese land, breaking up large estates and establishing state granaries. He also forbade the private sale of slaves, and reorganised command of China’s regions. He imposed greater central State control, reinstating some State monopolies.
10/1/9, Wang Mang assumed the title of Emperor of China, replacing the Han Dynasty by the new H’sin Dynasty.
15/8/1 BCE, Emperor Ai di 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 Di. See also Homosexuality.
1 BCE, Accession of Emperor Ping Di; he ruled to 6 CE.
27/8/7 BCE, Under the rule of Emperor Ai di of China, Wang Mang resigned the regency. Ai di disliked Wang Mang, and he was sent to his country estates.
7 BCE, Ai di became Emperor; he ruled to 1 BCE. Both Chengdi and Ai di created numerous marquisates in the provinces, which were governed by sons of the kings of the re-emerging kingdoms (see 49 BCE). This weakened central control,and also caused dissent amongst Chinese nobles, who felt their family members should have been awarded these marquisates.
17/4/7 BCE, Emperor Chengdi of China died, without an heir.
28/11/8 BCE, Wang Mang became Regent of China.
14 BCE, Peasant revolt in China.
33 BCE, In China, Chengdi became Han Emperor; he ruled to 7 BCE. Having no male heir, he was succeeded by his half-nephew Ai di.
49 BCE, Yuandi became Emperor; he ruled to 33 BCE. Economic cutbacks continued, and some semi-independent Kingdoms earlier suppressed by the Han began to reassert themselves.
55 BCE, Breakup of the Xongnu Confederacy; southern States became tributary to China.
87 BCE, Wu Ti died; a period of disorder followed in China.
100 BCE, Chinese maritime explorers first reached the coast of India.
108 BCE, Wu Ti conquered Choson.
111 BCE, China invaded Annam.
115 BCE, Chinese armies invaded the Lop Nor region and Tarim basin.
140 BCE, The Chinese Han Dynasty Emperor, Wu Ti, began a 53-year reign during which he conquered parts of Tonkin and Korea. He also sent his emissariy, Chang Ch’ien, far to the west to Bactria and Sogdiana, to seek alliances against the Huns (Hsiung Nu).
139 BCE, In response to raids by the Hsuing-Nu, the Chinese Imperial Envoy, Zhang Qian, travelled ascross central Asia seeking allies against these raiders. Zhang Qian was captured by the Hsuing-Nu and held for some years before he managed to escape.
177BCE, Raids by nomadic Hsuing-Nu tribes began to threaten the northern borders of China.
180 BCE, Wen-Ti became Chinese Emperor; his reign provided 23 years of internal stability.
190 BC, Establishment of the Choson Kingdom, which occupied northern Korea and south Manchuria. It was heavily influenced by Chinese culture. It began to conquer southern Korea but was itself overrun by the Chinese Han Dynasty in 108 BC.
202 BCE, The last Qin Emperor died. He was succeeded by a minor official, inaugurating the Han Dynasty.
210 BCE, Shi Huangdi died. Rebellions within the Qin Empire.
212 BCE, The Qin Empire banned ‘non-scientific books’,and standardised and simplified the Chinese script.
215 BCE, The Great Wall of China, 1,400 km long, was completed. Each tower along the Wall could accommodate a small garrison, with enough provisions for a 4-month siege. Beacons placed every 18 km allowed a signal, by smoke in day or fire at night, to be sent the 2,400 km length of the Wall in 24 hours. However the Chinese Empire could, even without the Wall, easily see off any threats from northern tribes. The Wall did, though, provide a place to send troublemakers to work, and kept the Chinese Army well away from the capital where it might mount a coup.
246 BCE, Zhao Zheng succeeded his father to the Qin throne. With sound advice from his chancellor, Li Si, Zhao negan to conquer the other Warring States. He overran Zhao and Yan, then Qin forces captured Wei, and in 223 he overcame Chu State. The last State, Qi, fell in 221 BCE, and China was united once more.
256 BCE, End of the Zhou Dynasty.
287 BCE, China’s northern States began building a defensive wall.
342 BCE, The Wei Army was attacking .the Han Kingdom, an ally of the Qi. The Qi now supported the Han by mounting an attack on the Wei capital, Daliang. The Wei king was forced to recall his army from the Han (where ot had been on the verge of victory). The Wei forces were now too large for the Qi to attack directly, so the Qi withdrew from Dailang, with the Wei in pursuit. The Qi deliberately left deserted camps, each successive one with a diminishing number of camp fires, and abandoned weaponry, so the Wei concluded that Qi forces must be shrinking due to desertions. The Wei stepped up ther pace of pursuit, and were ambushed and routed at a narrow pass by the Qi. Wei now became a vassal Stste of Qi.
353 BCE, Wei was defeated by Qi armies at Guiling.
356 BCE, The first Great Wall was built, to protect against Hun invasions. Wei became temporarily powerful enough to force four other Warring States to attend its Court, but this victory was short-lived.
364 BCE, Wei State was again defeated at the Battle of Shimen. Chu now declined and the capital of Wei was moved east to Dalian.
366 BCE, The Qin State won a major victory against Han and Wei forces.
380 BCE, Chu, the most southerly of the Warring States, had become powerful through annexation of neighbouring smaller States.
403 BCE, Start of the Warring States Period in China. Seven principal States continually manoeuvred to weaken each other, sometimes erupting into full-scale war.This situation lasted until 221 BCE.
479 BCE, Death of Kung Fu-tse, Chinese philosopher (born 551 BCE).
27/8/551 BCE, Confucius was born.
565 BCE, Lao Tse founded the belief system of Taoism.
604 BCE, Lao Tse, Chinese philosopher, born.
643 BCE, Death of Qi Huan Gong, acceded 685 BCE;as Qi Emperor, The Qi Empire held real power in the region.
700 BCE, The Zhou Emperors had little real power, with actual control residing with the ‘Ba’ (Senior Ones) from neighbouring States.
771 BCE, The Zhou capital was moved east to Luoyang, marking the start of the Eastern Zhou Period. China fragmented into perhaps as many as 148 separate States.
771, BCE, Rebellious vassal-state peoples, the Rong and Shen, attacked and killed King Yu. They installed his estranged son, Ping, on the throne (Ping had earlier joined the rebel forces).
842 BCE, King Li was forced into exile by conflict.
885 BCE, Conflict in China between different ruling Lords. King Yih was deposed, but resored by one of his Lords.
1027 BCE, King Wu of the Zhou defeated the last Shang ruler, Di Xin.
1041 BCE, The Duke of Zhou won the conflict for power (1043 BCE) but, realising he could not fully control his domain, set up semi-independent city states ruled by other members of the Zhou clan.
1043 BCE, Wu Wang died, His son, Cheng, was too young to rule, so Wu’s younger brother, the Duke of Zhou, agreed to act as Regent (or launched as coup for power). King Wu’s two older brothers joined forces with the remnants of the Shang Dynasty to overthrow the Duke of Zhou.
1100 BCE, First Chinese dictionary was compiled.
1192, Death of King Wuding.
1250, Wuding became king.
1300, The final Shang Dynasty capital, Anyang, was established, on the Yellow River.
1900 BCE, The city of Erlitou, in the Yellow River valley, rose to prominence, hosting a population of 25,000 by 1700 BCE.
2205 BCE, Start of the Hsia Culture in China (see 1766 BCE).
2697 BCE, Start of reign of Huang-Ti, the ‘Yellow Emperor’. According to legend, his wife was the first to unwind a silkworm cocoon and make silk.
3500 BCE, Urban centres developed in China. Cities had walls and rammed-earth platforms. Social stratification began with the wealthy trading in luxury items.
4000 BCE, Earliest evidence of Feng Shui building practice in China. Certain dwellings and graves were aligned on astronomical principles.
7000 BCE, Start of sedentary agriculture, in Yellow River Basin, China.
8500 BCE, Estimated date of earliest known Chinese pottery.
9000 BCE, Evidence of hunter-gatherer and fishing lifestyle from caves in central China.
Many dates for China here from ‘Why the West Rules – For Now’, Ian Morris, Profile Books, 2011