South East Asia & Pacific, Indian Oceans; key historical events


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For events of World War Two in Pacific, S E Asia, see China-Japan-Korea

For Hawaii, see USA


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Indonesia & Timor – see Appendix 1

Philippines – see Appendix 2

Singapore – see Appendix 3

Thailand – see Appendix 4


22/11/2010, 347 people died in a stampede at the Khymer Water Festival, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

15/4/1998, Pol Pot died, aged 70. He had been dictator of Kampuchea (Cambodia), and murdered thousands of people.

11/7/1995. US resumed full diplomatic relations with Vietnam.

1/2/1993. The Cambodian government began an offensive against Khmer Rouge rebels in western and north-central Cambodia.

12/3/1992. Mauritius broke its links with the British Crown and became fully independent.

14/11/1991, Prince Norodom Sihanouk returned to Cambodia after 13 years exile.

8/11/1991. Hong Kong began to repatriate its Vietnamese boat people.

23/10/1991. A peace accord between the warring factions in Kampuchea (Cambodia) was signed in Paris after being brokered by the UN.

18/7/1990, The US and Vietnam began talks over the future of Cambodia.

29/12/1989, Riots in Hong Kong after forcible repatriation of Vietnamese boat people began.

13/12/1989  Hong Kong began to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese boat people by plane.

27/7/1989, More ‘boat people’ were arriving in Hong Kong, hoping to reach California.

2/5/1989, Kampuchea announced it would revert to being called Cambodia.

5/4/1989, Vietnam announced it would withdraw its troops from Cambodia by September 1989.

26/6/1988. Vietnam said its troops would withdraw from Kampuchea, formerly Cambodia.

15/10/1987, The Queen abdicated as monarch of Fiji.

14/5/1987, A coup toppled the Fiji Government, in protest at the influence of Indians in the administration.

2/9/1985, In Kampuchea, the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot retired.

31/12/1983, Brunei became independent from the UK. It joined ASEAN, becoming the 6th member, in 7/1/1984. The new State derived considerable wealth from its offshore oil reserves.

26/7/1982. The West German rescue ship, Cape Anamur, entered its home port of Hamburg with 285 Vietnamese boat people who were fleeing the Communist regime which took over South Vietnam after the withdrawal of the USA. Boat people faced a perilous journey even before they tried to find asylum, facing dangers such as rape, robbery, murder, and abduction on the seas from pirates.

28/2/1981, In the first 8 weeks of 1981, 451 Vietnamese boat people arrived in Hong Kong, twice as many as in the same period in 1980.  In nearby Macao, 240 Vietnamese refugees were arriving every day.  Many were moving on from China, which had taken 250,000 Vietnamese since 1979.  The Hong Kong government asked the Chinese to step up naval surveillance along the Chinese coast.

1/1/1981. Palau became self-governing.

30/7/1980. The former Anglo-French territory of the New Hebrides became independent as Vanuatu.

19/9/1979, Pol Pot, ex-dictator of Cambodia, was sentenced to death in his absence by the Vietnamese-backed Cambodian Government.

12/7/1979. Kiribati became independent. It was formerly known as the Gilbert Islands.

10/5/1979, The Federated States of Micronesia became self-governing.

8/1/1979, In Cambodia, the Vietnamese took Phnom Penh; the Khmer Rouge regime fell.

7/1/1979. Rebel Cambodia forces, along with Vietnamese forces captured Phnom Penh, capital of Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia). Pol Pot and his Khmer rouge retreated to Thailand.

25/12/1978, Vietnam launched a major offensive against the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia.

1/10/1978  Vietnam attacked Cambodia.

30/9/1979, The Ellice Islands became the independent nation of Tuvalu.

7/7/1978. The Solomon Islands became an independent republic within the Commonwealth.  They had been a British protectorate since 1899.

31/12/1977, Cambodia broke off diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and suspended air services between them. Fighting between the two countries had erupted in the Parrot’s Beak area, where Cambodia juts out into (South) Vietnam. The Chinese-backed Cambodian regime accused Vietnam of not being sufficiently ‘revolutionary’. Troubles began when many Cambodians moved across the border into the Mekong Delta area, after Saigon fell and before North Vietnam had fully established control of the area.

21/7/1977, Cambodia and Thailand fought in a border war.

2/7/1976. North and South Vietnam were reunited to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

28/6/1976. Seychelles became independent.  They had been ceded to Britain as a colony in 1814.

24/6/1976, At a government conference in Hanoi, the unification of North and South Vietnam was approved, as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, see 30/4/1975.

4/4/1976, Prince Norodom Sihanouk resigned as leader of Cambodia and was placed under house arrest.

2/1/1976, Britain granted the Solomon Islands internal self-government.

For more events of Vietnam War see USA

2/12/1975, Following the fall of Saigon, Vietnam, to the Communists the Pathet Lao in Laos took over the entire government, effectively abrogating a coalition agreement with the Lao government made in 21/2/1973.  The King of Laos abdicated and Laos was proclaimed a People’s Democratic Republic.

16/9/1975. Papua New Guinea became  independent from Australia.

29/4/1975. A US helicopter evacuated Americans and a few lucky Vietnamese from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon to a nearby US warship a day before Saigon fell to the Vietcong. The picture of the helicopter evacuation became an iconic symbol of US humiliation in Vietnam. In the US Embassy, some Vietnamese women quickly ‘married’ Americans in order to gain a place in the evacuation; the marriage ceremony was rather brief, “Do you? I do”. Conditions in the embassy corridors quickly deteriorated as the air conditioning broke down. In all, 1,373 Americans, 5,595 South Vietnamese and 85 other nationals were evacuated in the last days of the war.

25/4/1975, The Australian Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam, shut as North Vietnamese forces closed in.

23/4/1975, US President Ford announced that US involvement in Vietnam was to end. US forces began the final evacuation of personnel from Saigon by aeroplane, see 28 and 29/4/1973.

21/4/1975, President Thieu of South Vietnam, aware that the North would never negotiate with him, resigned in a last ditch attempt to find an agreement by appointing a new leader in his place. Thieu escaped to Taipei with 3.5 tons of gold. General Duong Van Minh became leader in his place.

20/4/1975, South Vietnamese forces were now driven back to Long Binh and Bien Hoa airbases, just 12 miles from Saigon. Saigon was now surrounded by 15 divisions, and defended by just four.

17/4/1975. In Cambodia, the capital Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge. The civil war there ended. Pol Pot proclaimed the ‘Democratic Republic of Kampuchea, and became its Prime Minister, from 1975 to 1979.

6/4/1975, A plane carrying 99 Vietnamese orphans landed at Heathrow Airport, London.

4/4/1975, A Galaxy transport plane carrying 243 Vietnamese orphans from Saigon to the US crashed shortly after take-off, killing over 200 children and 44 adults.

30/3/1975. North Vietnamese forces captured the port of Da Nang. Ships attempted to rescue over 1 million refugees.

25/3/1975. In South Vietnam, Hue fell to the North.

19/3/1975, In South Vietnam, Quang Tri Province fell to the North, leaving the provincial capital of Hue exposed.

7/1/1975, North Vietnamese forces captured the southern province of Phuoc Long (see 29/3/1973) and were now just 75 miles from Saigon. There was no reaction from the US. On 10/3/1975 North Vietnam captured the strategic town of Ban Me Thuot in the Central Highlands. Within four days South Vietnam decided to abandon the entire Central Highlands to concentrate on the defence of Saigon. This strategic withdrawal became a rout, woith hundreds of thousands of cicilians, and fleeing soldiers, clogging the roads as the Communists advanced. By 1/4/1975 half of South Vietnam was occupied by the North and the South Vietnamese army was disintegrating. US Congress had no intention of further aid to the South; they did not even intend to organise an evacuation of US citizens and pro-US Vietnamese, instead hoping to persuade the North to stop short of total conquest and accept a coalition government in Saigon.  President Thieu of South Vietnam resigned on 28/4/1975 and was replaced by the neutralist General Duong Van Minh. By then North Vietnamese forces were in the suburbs of Saigon. A few fortunate personnel were evacuated from the roof of the US Embassy by helicopter (see 29/4/1975).  However in the last-minute chaos nobody thought to destroy the records of South Vietnamese who had supported the US. On 30/4/1975 a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon and a soldier raised the North Vietnamese flag. Then the event was repeated for the benefit of TV cameras who had missed the original. Meanwhile in Cambodia the Khmer Rouge had entered Phnom Penh and begub deporting hundreds of thousands of its population to the killing fields. The defeat of the US was total and complete.

22/12/1974, The North Vietnamese General Van Tra, to prove that the South Vietnamese Army was on the point of collapse, made a ferocious attack on Don Luan. The town fell within four days, enabling the North to push on southwards towards Phuoc Long province.

30/6/1974, France formally left SEATO.  At a meeting of ministers in New York at the end of  September 1975 it was decided to ‘phase out’ SEATO because of changed conditions in the region.

1/12/1973. Papua New Guinea became internally self-governing, see 16/9/1975.

29/3/1973, US pulled its last troops out of South Vietnam. The quadrupling of oil prices by OPEC worsened the finances of the USA. Nixon was in trouble with Watergate and Congress reasserted its power over US foreign policy. The War Powers Resolution of November 1973 removed the President’s power to make war without prior Congressional approval, nullifying Nixon’s promise to send troops to support South Vietnam if the Communists threatened again. In 1974 Congress slashed the budget for the war in Vietnam. US influence also declined in Cambodia, where extensive bombing had disrupted society and promoted the growth of the Communist Khmer Rouge, backed by Prince Sihanouk. Many Cambodians regarded Sihanouk as their legitimate leader, and by 1974 Sihanouk’s US-backed replacement, General Lon Nol, controlled just one third of Cambodia. In Laos an extensive bombing campaign to destroy the Ho Chi Minh trail, a network of routes used to supply the Communist Vietcong, simply resulted in the strengthening of the Pathet Lao, the Laotian Communists. Throughout 1974 the North Vietnamese quietly built up strength in the border regions of South Vietnam, and on 7/1/1975 they captured the South Vietnamese province of Phuoc Long.

27/1//1973. The war in Vietnam ended, as President Nixon signed the ceasefire agreement in Paris. One million combatants had been killed. The last US troops left Vietnam on 29/3/1972. However fighting later continued between North and South Vietnam, see 30/4/1975.

30/3/1972, North Vietnam launched a major attack on the South. On 15/4/1972 the US made heavy bombing raids on North Vietnam. North Vietnam abandoned guerrilla tactics and launched a major conventional invasion, with tanks and heavy artillery. The South Vietnamese city of Quang Tri fell on 1/5/1972 and South Vietnam seemed to have lost the war. However the US responded with massive air power and smart bombs. North Vietnamese forces were driven back to the dividing line and Hanoi proposed peace talks in October 1972. Under domestic pressure to end US involvement in Vietnam, Nixon could not refuse this offer.

26/1/1972, Henry Kissinger, attempting to mediate a peace deal in Vietnam, complained that the North Vietnamese were only pretending to negotiate whilst in fact holding out until the US tired of the War and allowed the North to take over South Vietnam by force. This was indeed the North’s strategy, and Kissinger’s complaint did not alter its effectiveness. US President Nixon was concerned about the image of the USA and its power should it fail in Vietnam.

20/4/1971, Cambodian Prime Minister Lon Nol resigned, but remained in power until the next elections.

13/2/1971, South Vietnamese troops, with US aircraft and artillery backing, entered Laos, to eradicate North Vietnamese supply depots. However they were repelled with heavy casualties.

10/10/1970. Fiji became independent from Britain.  It had been a British colony since 1874.

4/6/1970. Tonga (The Friendly Islands) became an independent member of the Commonwealth.  It had been a British Protectorate since 1900.

30/4/1970. US troops sent to Cambodia to attack Communist bases. They withdrew from Cambodia on 29/6/1970.

20/4/1970. President Nixon announced that a further 150,000 troops would be withdrawn from Vietnam.

25/1/1970. Eleven arrests were made as police clashed with anti – Vietnam War protesters at the entrance to Downing Street.

15/11/1969. Huge anti Vietnam War demonstration in Washington.

3/9/1969. Ho Chi Minh, President of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, died of a heart attack aged 79.

18/3/1969, The US began heavily bombing Cambodia, the aim being to cut the Ho Chi Minh trail and thereby disrupt supplies to the Communist Vietcong. The operation was not publicised to the West, because that would have revealed Sihanouk’s complicity in the bombing of his own country. Sihanouk was pro-US because he perceived Pol Pot to be allied to Hanoi. In fact the bombing destabilised Cambodia so that within a year Sihanouk was deposed by his own ministers. The new Cambodian leader, Lon Nol, insisted that all Vietnamese troops leave Cambodian soil to the delight of the US. However Lon Nol was weak and his rule facilitated the advance of Pol Pot’s forces into rural areas, forcing Lon Nol’s troops back into the cities.

6/5/1968, The Vietnam War continued with house to house fighting in Saigon. The Home Secretary James Callaghan told the Ministry of Public Building and Works that he had no power to deport Tariq Ali back to his native Pakistan. Mr Ali was a member of the Vietnam Solidarity campaign in Britain.

16/3/1968. The My Lai massacre; US soldiers massacred 700 Vietnamese civilians in a raid on hamlets in Son My district, where Communist Vietcong rebels were suspected to be hiding out. US forces believed that 250 Vietcong guerrillas were hiding in My Lai and that all civilians would have left for market. As the 30 US troops went in under the command of Lieutenant William Calley they threw grenades and deployed flamethrowers on the thatched roof huts; it was soon clear that only women, children and the elderly were present. There was no counter fire. However a ‘contagion of slaughter’ had set in and the rape and murder continued. Senior US army officials turned a blind eye to the event; only five people were ever court-martialled, with just one, Lieutenant Calley, found guilty. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but served 3 ½ years before release on parole. This event turned many civilians within the US against the Vietnam War.

12/3/1968, Mauritius, a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, became independent from the UK, and joined the Commonwealth. It had been a British colony since 1810.

31/1/1968. Nauru became independent from Britain.

For Vietnam War see also USA

30/1/1968. The Vietcong launched the great Tet Offensive against South Vietnam, named after the Tet holiday of January 31, when south Vietnamese soldiers would be off-guard. Militarily the Tet offensive was disastrous for the North; they held none of the towns they captured. The last town, Hue, was recaptured by US Marines three weeks after the Tet Offensive began. However the North won the propaganda war, with massive damage inflicted on the South during the Offensive, much of by US forces whilst evicting the Communists. Martial law was proclaimed in Vietnam. US casualties now amounted to 1,000 per day. Questions were asked why the US and South were suffering so many losses without obvious success in the war.

29/6/1967. The American child psychologist Dr Benjamin Spock led a march of nearly 5,000 people in London in protest against the Vietnam War. Eighteen people were arrested as the march headed towards the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square.

14/2/1967. 100 Labour MPs in Westminster condemned the US bombing of Vietnam. On 26/2/1967 the US stepped up the war by attacking the Vietcong's HQ.

23/9/1966. USA planes dropped tons of herbicides on Vietnam turning the demilitarised zone between North and South Vietnam into a barren wasteland.

11/8/1966. Malaysia and Indonesia ended a 3 year war.

19/4/1966. Australia sent 4,500 soldiers to fight in Vietnam.

8/1/1966. US launched biggest offensive to date in Vietnam.

For more events of Vietnam War see USA

29/12/1965. North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh rejected US peace talks.

12/8/1965, 19 days after the US learned that North Vietnam had bases around its capital from which to fire surface-to-air missiles, the North Vietnamese revealed that they had mobile missile units that could be taken to any location, shooting down a U.S. Navy A-4 Skyhawk attack jet flying 50 miles southwest of Hanoi. Lieutenant Donald H. Brown of the USS Coral Sea was killed in the crash, becoming the first U.S. Navy flier to be downed by a SAM missile.

24/6/1965, South Vietnam severed relations with France.

23/6/1965, The USSR rejected a Vietnam peace initiative proposed by Harold Wilson.

31/5/1965. Major US air strikes in Vietnam saved the South Vietnamese forces from annihilation, reported The Guardian.

28/4/1965, US forces invaded the Dominican Republic. This country had been in political turmoil since the death of the longstanding dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961. Free elections in December 1962 brought the mildly left-wing Juan Bosch to power, but he was quickly deposed in a military coup. This right-wing military junta was itself deposed in a further coup led by Colonel Francisco Caama, and Bosch was invited to return from exile and restore democracy. However the US was extremely wary, after Cuba, of any more leftist regimes being established in the Caribbean. On 28/4 US troops occupied the western half of the capital, Santo Domingo, whilst in the east right-wing generals took over the San Isidro air base, which was then opened to US military flights. However the US did not want to undertake a permanent occupation of the Dominican Republic; US troops were replaced by a Pan-American force under Brazilian command, and free elections organised in 1966, won by President Joaquin Balaguer.

8/3/1965, The US stepped up military action in Vietnam. 3,500 American Marines, the first combat troops to arrive in Vietnam, landed, welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd. By July 1965 there were 75,000 US troops in Vietnam, by end-1965 184,000, and by early 1968, 510,000.

7/2/1965. US aircraft bombed North Vietnam. The US hoped that by relying on a sustained air bombing campaign, US casualties would be minimised.

19/11/1964. Major offensive by South Vietnam against the North began.

3/9/1964, Britain agreed to support Malaysia against threats from Indonesia.

2/8/1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the US destroyer Maddox. North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the US destroyer Maddox, which was patrolling 16 km off the North Vietnamese coast. One Vietnamese boat was sunk, another badly damaged; the Maddox was undamaged and continued her patrol. On the stormy night of 4-5/8/1964 the radar allegedly spotted five Vietnamese boats in ‘attack formation’; in fact these boats almost certainly did not exist. Either the radar image was misinterpreted, or were fabricated to justify further US actions in Vietnam. US President Johnson got the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed through Congress; authorising ‘any necessary measures’ to repel attacks on US forces or US allies, including South Vietnam. This resolution justified a large escalation in US activity in Vietnam from 1965 onwards.

4/6/1964, The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 189, condemning military incursions into Cambodia.

2/11/1963, The first President of Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was assassinated, along with his brother, in a military coup encouraged by the CIA.

1/11/1963, In South Vietnam, a coup organised by General Duong Van Minh overthrew President Ngo Dinh Diem.

16/9/1963. Malaysia became independent from Britain; a mob of over 100,000 burned down the British Embassy.  The name Malaysia was adopted, from the previous name, Federation of Malaya, when joined by Singapore and Sarawak.

8/12/1962, Revolt in Brunei suppressed with British help.

21/8/1963,Martial law was declared in South Vietnam.

11/5/1962. President Kennedy ordered US naval, air, and land forces into the Indo China area, to prevent Laos from falling under Communist control.

1/1/1962. Western Samoa became independent.

29/10/1959, King Sisavang Vong of Laos died, aged 74, after a reign over 50 years. He was succeeded by his son, King Savang.

22/10/1957. 13 US servicemen and 5 civilians were injured in Saigon, South Vietnam, by a bomb planted by Communist guerrillas. This was the worst incident since 1954 when the French admitted defeat in the fight against North Vietnam’s Viet Minh army and split Vietnam into North and South, two independent states.

31/8/1957. Malaysia (Malaya) became independent, ending 170 years of British rule. This was Britain’s last major Asian colony. Malay and British forces had defeated Communist rebels, and the new Prime Minister was Tenkgu Abdul Rahman. Rahman (1903-1990) was the son of the Sultan of Kedah, he negotiated the Federation of Malaysia with Sabah and Singapore, 1961-2, remaining Prime Minister if the enlarged Malaysia. However he resigned from politics after the violemnt Chinese-Malay riots of May 1969 in Kuala Lumpur.

8/2/1956, Malaya was promised independence by Britain by August 1957.

23/10/1955. South Vietnam became a republic under Diem.

7/12/1954, Bui Van Luong was replaced as the head of COMIGAL, Vietnam's government resettlement agency, by Pham Van Huyen.

5/11/1954, Burma and Japan signed a peace treaty.

10/10/1954, Ho Chi Minh returned to Hanoi as the French pulled out.

8/9/1954. South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty was signed.  See 7/11/1973 and 30/6/1974.

21/7/1954. An armistice divided Vietnam into North (Communist) and South (French). See 21/4/1954.

20/7/1954. Cambodian independence from France was confirmed.

7/5/1954. Communist Vietminh forces under General Giap captured Dien Ben Phu in Vietnam, a key French garrison, after a siege. Almost all the 16,000 French soldiers were killed. The Americans had considered using atomic bombs, but Eisenhower was reluctant to start a new war after Korea, and did not wish to support colonialism.  This effectively marked the end of French rule in Indo-China.  Dien Ben Phu was a village in Vietnam, 75 miles south of the Chinese border and commanding a valley into Laos, which lay 20 miles further west, so occupied a strategic position.

21/4/1954. The US Air Force flew a French battalion to northern Vietnam to defend against the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu. Dien Bien Phu fell to the Communists on 7/5/1954.

13/3/1954, The Vietminh assault on Dien Ben Phu began; see 7/5/1954.

9/11/1953. Cambodia became independent.

22/10/1953, Laos became independent from France; it was admitted to the United Nations in December 1955.

6/10/1951, The British High Commissioner in Malaya, Sir Henry Gurney, was killed in an ambush by Communist guerrillas in the Pahang Hills. Chinese-backed Communists were fighting to destroy the rubber plantation economy.

4/4/1951, Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, died.

25/5/1950, French troops fought the Vietcong guerrillas in Vietnam.

7/2/1950, The Soviet Union officially recognised the Marxist regime of Ho Chi Minh in North Vietnam; the USA endorsed the French-backed regime of Emperor Bao Dai in South Vietnam. The two regimes had been at war since 1947.

30/12/1949. Vietnam gained sovereignty from France.

19/7/1949, Laos became independent within the French Union

8/3/1949, Vietnam became independent within the French Union.

19/12/1946, An uneasy post-War period of tactical co-operation between the French and the Vietcong Communist forces ended. The French had wanted to regain their colony of Vietnam; the Vietcong also wanted Nationalist factions in the country eliminated. But on this day the Vietcong attacked French troops at Hanoi, starting the First Indo-China War. The Vietcong began a campaign of guerrilla warfare.

2/3/1946. In North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh was elected President.

11/3/1945. Cambodia declared its independence.

10/3/1945. Tran Kim declared Vietnam independent.

For events of World War Two in the Pacific see China-Japan-Korea

2/3/1935, King Rama VII of Siam abdicated and was succeeded by his nephew, 10-year old Rama VIII.

8/11/1927, Nguyen Khanh, Prime Minister of South Vietnam, was born.

6/11/1925, Khai Dinh, Emperor of Vietnam, died.

31/10/1922, Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia, was born.

11/11/1917, Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii, died. See also USA.

10/11/1915, Britain annexed the Gilbert and Ellice Islands.

1914, New Zealand occupied the German colony of Western Samoa during World War One,

16/1/1911, Major oil find in Borneo.

2/1/1906. The Sultan of Brunei agreed to hand over administration of Brunei to the British.

1900, Germany colonised Western Samoa.

19/5/1900. Britain annexed Tonga, the Friendly Islands, an archipelago of 169 islands.

15/1/1896. Britain and France signed an agreement on their spheres of influence in S.E. Asia. Both countries guaranteed the independence of Siam (Thailand) and Britain recognised the French protectorate of Laos.

19/5/1890, Birth of Ho Chi Minh, President of North Vietnam (died 1969).

12/5/1888. Britain established a protectorate over North Borneo.

17/3/1888. Britain established a protectorate over Sarawak in the Malaysian archipelago.

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.

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.

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.

29/6/1880. France annexed Tahiti.

1876, Rubber seeds, which originated in the Amazon Basin in South America, were sent from the Royal Botaincal Gardens in Britain to Ceylon, and then on to plantations in Malaya, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. This was the origin of the S E Asian rubber industry.

11/8/1863, A French Protectorate was established in Cambodia, after continued attacks by Thai and Vietnamese forces.

25/2/1861, The French relieved a siege of Saigon by 20,000 Vietnamese, and consolidated their hold over Cochin China.

1860, The ruins of Angkor Wat were rediscovered.

22/2/1860, In the face of Vietnamese attacks, French colonists evacuated Tourane.

31/8/1858, French forces under Admiral Rigault de Genouilly attacked the Vietnamese city of Tourane, to use it as a military base. The city fell to the French on 2/9/1858.

1847, The French began to interfere in the political affairs of Annam (Vietnam), on the pretext pf protecting the |Christians there.

1846, Britain annexed the small island of Labuan, which commanded the entrance to Brunei Bay, as a defensive base against pirates.

24/9/1841, Sir James Brooke was appointed Rajah of Sarawak.

See also USA for events in Hawaii connected to United States of America

1820, Death of Nguyen Phuoc Anh (also known as Long Gia), emperor of Vietnam and founder of the Nguyen Dynasty. He fought to extend the influence of the Nguyen Clan, as the existing Tay Son order disintegrated. In 1802 he succeeded in unifying Vietnam for the first time, from the Chinese border down to the Mekong Delta.

8/5/1819, Death of King Kamehameha, who united Hawaii.

3/12/1810. The British seized the islands of Reunion and Maurice (Mauritius) after the Battle of Grand Port.

1786, The British occupied Penang.

14/2/1779. Explorer Captain James Cook, born 27/10/1728, stabbed to death at Keelakekeua Bay by natives of Owyhee, the modern Hawaii. See 28/4/1770, 18/1/1778.

18/1/1778. Captain James Cook discovered Hawaii, then known as the Sandwich Islands. Having sailed from the Cape of Good Hope in 1776, Cook’s plan was to sail through the Bering Straits and attempt to find a north-east route between Europe and the Pacific from the eastern side. See 14/2/1779.

17/2/1759, French forces took Saigon, Vietnam.

16/7/1731, At the Treaty of Vienna, between Britain, Spain, Austria, and Holland, the Ostend East India Company, Britain’s main trading rival in cotton and spices, was dissolved.

5/4/1722, The explorer Jakob Roggeveen discovered Easter Island.

11/7/1688, Narai, King of Siam, died.

20/3/1602. See 31/12/1600 and 2/4/1595. The Dutch East India Company was formed to trade with the East Indies; it had permission to arrange treaties, wage defensive war, and build fortresses.  Its headquarters was at Batavia, Java. The Company was to help in the long war of independence by the Dutch against Spain.  The British Treasury had been drained by rebellion in Ireland and support for the Protestant revolt in The Netherlands against Spain. See 29/11/1596.  This company was wound up in 1798.

21/7/1595, Alvaro Mendana discovered the Marquesas Islands.

4/8/1511, Alfonso de Aberquerque captured Malacca.

11/9/1509, Portuguese Fidalgo Diogo Lopes de Sequeira became the first European to reach Malacca, having crossed the Gulf of Bengal.

1500, End of the Khmer Empire.

1428, Annam (Vietnam) regained its independence from China.

1407, China regained control of Annam. See 1428.

4/4/1287, Wareru created the Hanthawaddy Kingdom in modern-day Lower Burma.

1181, Jayavarman VII became King of Cambodia; ruled until his death in 1220.

1150, The great Temple of Angkor Wat was completed (begun 1113).

939, The Vietnamese expelled their Chinese rulers from Annam, meaning ‘pacified south’ in Chinese.

900, The city of Angkor Wat was completed.

802, The Khmer people were united under King Jayavarman I

214 BC, Annam (now Vietnam) was conquered by China.


Appendix 1 – Indonesia & East Timor

20/5/2002, East Timor became independent from Indonesia. It had been a Portuguese colony, whereas the west of Timor, along with the rest of Indonesia, had been a Dutch colony until gaining independence in 1949. The Portuguese retained East Timor until 1975, when, with majority support, the Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste Independente, or Fretelin, a Leftist organisation, took control. Indonesia then invaded the former colony, and east Timor was declared the 27th province of Indonesia in July 1976. However the UN refused to recognise Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor, instead continuing to regard it as a Portuguese colony. In 1991 pro-independence demonstrators were massacred by the Indonesian Army in Dili, attracting international condemnation. Guerrilla warfare between Indonesia and Timor independence fighters continued until 1999, when Indonesia agreed to a plebiscite offering East Timor a choice between a special autonomous regime within Indonesia or independence. There was a large majority for independence, and President Xanana Gusmao, leader of Fretilin, became President of the newly independent State.

1/10/2005, The resort of Bali was bombed by terrorists.  26 were killed and 100 injured.

20/9/1999, Timor L’Este appealed for help from the international community.

21/5/1998, President Suharto of Indonesia resigned as the country’s economy worsened.

25/12/1994, Protests by indigenous villagers of Papua against mine pollution (see 1936) were met with military attacks, killing three protestors,

7/12/1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor. See 28/11/1975. On 17/7/1976 East Timor was declared the 27th province of Indonesia.

28/11/1975, Portuguese Timor declared independence from Portugal, as East Timor. See 7/12/1975.

16/10/1975, Indonesian forces on a raid into Portuguese Timor killed 5 Australian-based journalists.

11/8/1975, Mario Lemos Pires, Governor of Portuguese Timor, was forced to abandon the capital, Dili, due to civil war between UDT and Fretilin.

22/2/1967, Sumarto replaced Sukarno as President of Indonesia.

11/8/1966. Malaysia and Indonesia ended a 3 year war.

12/3/1966. General Suharto assumed power in an army coup in Indonesia.

7/1/1965. Indonesia left the United Nations, under President Sukarno.

9/2/1959. The UK supplied arms to Indonesia.

31/12/1958, President Sukharno proclaimed a state of Emergency in Sumatra.

5/12/1957. All Dutch nationals were expelled from Indonesia.

3/12/1958. Indonesia nationalised Dutch businesses.

11/8/1955. Muslim right wing government took over in Indonesia.

28/12/1949, Ahmed Sukarno, aged 48, leader of the Indonesian Nationalist Party, arrived in Batavia (Djakarta) to take up residence on the former Dutch Governor’s Palace. Since the end of the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in 1945, Sukarno had fought hard for independence from the Netherlands.

27/12/1949. Holland recognised the independence of Indonesia.

15/12/1948. In Indonesia, Dutch troops seized Jakarta.

1/8/1947. The UN Security Council asked for a ceasefire in Indonesia.

20/7/1947. Dutch troops attacked Indonesian forces in Java.

17/8/1945, Indonesia was proclaimed an independent republic, under Dr Sukarno, after its liberation from Japanese forces.  The PNI (Indonesian Nationalist Party) proclaimed a Republic in the city they called Jakarta, and the Dutch called Batavia.  The Dutch and the PNI began fighting.

1936, Dutch prospectors discovered large gold and copper deposits in western Papua New Guinea. Mining began by Freeport in 1972. By the late 1970s, the indigenous population was protesting about pollution from the mine and slag heaps. In 1977 the Free Papua Movement blew up part of the mine buildings; a military crackdown followed, in which 900 villagers were killed. See 25/12/1994.

4/6/1927. In Indonesia, Ahmed Sukarno founded the Indonesian Nationalist Party.

6/6/1901, Sukarno, President of Indonesia, was born.

1660, Celebes became a Dutch colony.

1520, Dutch colonisers established a post on Timor.


Appendix 2 – Philippines

10/5/2016, Duterte (born 28/3/1945) was elected President of the Philippines.

30/12/2015, The Philippines said it will join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank despite disputes between it and the bank's founder, China.

24/9/1993. In the Philippines, Imelda Marcos was jailed for 18 years for corruption.

16/6/1992, In the Philippines, Cory Aquino was defeated in elections by General Fidel Ramos.

30/11/1989, Rebels in the Philippines attacked Cory Aquino’s palace and three military bases.

28/9/1989. Ex-President Marcos of the Philippines died in Honolulu.

29/1/1987, President Corazon Aquino of the Philippines put down a second attempted coup against her two-year-old administration; she was assiated by the USA. Rebels supporting ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda abandoned the TV station in Manila they had occupied on 27/1/1987. Loyalist troops had thwarted the rebels by cutting power to the TV station.

25/2/1986. Right-wing President Marcos, who had ruled since 1965, was forced to flee the Philippines, after defeat by Corazon Aquino (born 1933). Mrs Aquino’s husband had been shot by Marcos’ troops in 1983. President Marcos fled to the roof of the palace and were whisked away by US helicopters.

21/8/1984, Half a million people in Manila demonstrated against the rule of Ferdinand Marcos, on the first anniversary of the assassination of Benigno Aquino. Marcos had ruled since 1972.

21/8/1983, The Philippines opposition leader, Benigno Aquino, was shot dead minutes after returning home from exile. Born in 1932, Benigno became a Senator at 35 and was the leader of the opposition to Philippines leader Ferdinand Marcos during the period of martial law from 1972. Had martial law not been declared and the Presidential elections due for 1973 been run, it is generally accepted that Benigno Aquino would have won. In fact Aquino was arrested in November 1977 on charges of murder sand subversion. In 1980, suffering from a heart condition, Aquino was allowed to leave for exile and treatment in the USA. His assassination was widely believed to be on the orders of Marcos, and it unleashed protests that led to the collapse of the Marcos Presidency; in February 1986, Benigno’s widow, Cory Aquino, became President of the Philippines.

17/1/1973. President Marcos of the Philippines extended his term indefinitely.

30/12/1965, In the Philippines, Ferdinand E Marcos became President.

10/8/1965, The agreement between the United States and the Philippines on U.S. military bases was formally amended, returning exclusive jurisdiction over the Port of Manila and the city of Olongapo to the Philippines, and ceding more than 1,200 km2 of territory back to the Philippine government.

1956, Maria Corazon married Benigno Aquino.

11/9/1917, Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines, was born.

4/7/1902, The US suppressed a rebellion in the Philippines.

4/7/1901, The US Republican, Taft, was appointed Governor of the Philippines, replacing a former military government with civilian rule. He announced an amnesty for all former rebels who took an oath of allegiance to the USA.

4/6/1900, The Battle of Makahambus Hill took place near Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines. This was the first victory of the Filipino soldiers against the American occupation forces.

5/10/1762, The British captured Manila, Philippines, from Spain,

14/4/1617, At the Second Battle of Playa Honda, the Spanish navy defeated the Dutch in the Philippines.

1594, Lisbon closed its spice market to Dutch and English traders; at this time Portugal was in personal union with Spain, both being ruled by Philip II, and England was helping the Dutch to gain independecnce from Spain. This forced traders from those countries to get their spices directly from India, and the creation of the Dutch East India Company followed.

1565, Spain began the colonisation of the Philippines, initially claiming the central island of Cebu. However they shifted focus to Luzon, making Manila the capital in 1571.

7/4/1521, Ferdinand Magellan arrived at Cebu.

16/3/1521, Ferdinand Magellan sighted the Philippine Islands.


Appendix 3 -  Singapore

23/3/2015, Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore who played a major role in the development of that country, died aged 91. He became first Prime Minister of newly-independent Singapore in 1959, remaining in government until 2011. He took Singapore into a federation with Malaysia in 1963, and took it out in 1965. He ran Singapore with a strong hand, but achieved economic growth that averaged 7% a year for four decades.

26/11/1990, President Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore resigned after 26 years in office.

9/8/1965. Singapore seceded from the Federation of Malaysia.  It became an independent Republic within the Commonwealth.

3/6/1959. Singapore achieved self-government. Lee Kuan Yew was Prime Minister/

14/2/1938, The British Naval base at Singapore opened.

5/8/1923, C V Devan Nair, President of Singapore, was born.

12/8/1910, Yusof bin Ishak, first President of Singapore 1965–70, was born in Perak State (died 1970)

5/7/1826, Sir Stamford Raffles, British colonial administrator, founder of Singapore in 1819, died in London.

1824, The Anglo-Dutch Treaty. The Netherlands recognised Britain’s dominion over Malaysia, and Britain undertook not to advance its colonisation south of the latitude of Singapore.

29/1/1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles landed at Singapore and set up a trading post there.

5/7/1781, Sir Stamford Raffles, who founded Singapore, was born.


Appendix 4 – Thailand

13/10/2016, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died, aged 88, after a 70-year reign. He was succeeded by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, after a period of mourning.

17/8/2015, A terrorist bomb exploded at the Erawan Buddhist shrine in central Bangkok, killing over 20 and injuring more than 120. No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

1/2/2014, Violent protests in Bangkok.

11/4/2009, Civil unrest in Thailand; state of emergency declared.

2/9/2008, Unrest continued in Bangkok; Prime Minister Sundaravej declared a State of Emergency.

19/9/2006, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand declared a State of Emergency as the Thai Army staged a military coup.

5/1/2004, Thailand declared a State of Emergency as Muslim insurgency in the southern provinces, Narathiwat, Pattani and Yaia increased.

2000, Bangkok was reported to be sinking at up to 5 cm a year. The city is built on what was a swamp, and there has been considerable removal of ground water.

10/5/1993, An explosion at a doll factory in Bangkok, Thailand killed 187

23/2/1991, Thai Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda was ousted in a bloodless coup.

17/11/1990, A mass grave, believed to be from World War Two, was discovered  near the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai, Thailand.

21/7/1977, Cambodia and Thailand fought in a border war.

8/12/1963, Sarit Dhanarajata, Prime Minister of Thailand, died.

11/5/1949. Siam changed its name to Thailand.

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.

2/3/1935, King Rama VII of Siam abdicated after a 10-year reign during which absolute royal power was abolished. He was succeeded by his 10-year-old nephew who ruled ass Rama VIII (Ananda Mahidol) until he was assassinated in 1946.

24/6/1932, Radicals captured King Rama VII and held him prisoner until he agreed to reforms and the creation of a Senate.

1918, The image of the sacred White Elephant was removed from the flag of Siam.

23/10/1910, Vajiravudh (1881-1925) was crowned Rama VI, King of Thailand.

1902, Thailand annexed the Sultanate of Pattani, on its southern border with Malaysia. The Muslim Malays of Pattani launched a resistance movement against Thai Buddhist rule.

15/1/1896. Britain and France signed an agreement on their spheres of influence in S.E. Asia. Both countries guaranteed the independence of Siam (Thailand).

3/10/1893. Siam (Thailand) gave up all its territory east of the Mekong Rover, and recognised Laos as a French protectorate.

1/10/1868, Mongkut, King of Siam, died aged 64. In his 17-year reign he made considerable reforms, with Western help. His decision to roll back centuries of isolation was taken during his travels as a Buddhist monk for 27 years. In 1863 France had forced him to relinquish his vassal state of Cambodia, which became a French protectorate.

11/8/1863, A French Protectorate was established in Cambodia, after continued attacks by Thai and Vietnamese forces.

1/4/1851, Rama IV (1804-68) took the Thai throne.

6/4/1782, Chao P’ya Chakri founded the Chakri Dynasty in Siam, ruling as King Rama I. He made Bangkok the capital.

1680, The French esatblsihed trading posts in Siam.


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