First Sino-Japanese War

The Rise of Japan

East Asia 1894.0801

First Sino-Japanese War

The Rise of Japan, the Spanish-American War, and the Boxer Rebellion (1 August 1894)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

The intervention of China and Japan in Korea helped bring the Donghak peasant rebellion to an abrupt end, but once it was over, Japan refused to withdraw its troops, insisting that it should supervise reforms in the country. Relations between the three nations quickly broke down over the issue and, in July 1894, the Japanese occupied Seoul and attacked Chinese forces in Korea.

Notes

Treaty Ports

Treaty ports - the small unlabelled circles on the map - were towns opened to foreign trade by unequal treaties in China, Japan, and Korea. Foreigners operating within treaty ports enjoyed extraterritoriality, being subject to their home country's laws. Unlike concessions such as Hong Kong, these territories were not directly leased by the foreign powers and did not have sizable foreign garrisons.

Only treaty ports that were opened by treaty and used are shown on the maps. Treaty ports are also not generally shown in places which are already covered by concessions or under occupation. Treaty ports are not shown after the 1911 Chinese Revolution, although they continued on into the 1940s.

Yangtze River

By the terms of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858), foreign vessels including warships had the right to free navigation on the Yangtze River. In practical terms, this right extended only as far as Yichang until 1900, when advances in steam navigation allowed access as far inland as Chongqing.

Main Events

Jeonju Truce

Shortly after the arrival of Chinese forces in Korea, the Korean government persuaded the Donghak rebels - already suffering from lack of food - to accept a truce. The treaty was signed at Jeonju on 11 June 1894, with the government agreeing to twelve points to fight corruption and ease the burden on the peasants.

Republic of Hawaii

The Provisional Government of Hawaii called a constitutional convention, establishing the Republic of Hawaii with Sanford B. Dole - a leader of the Provisional Government - as president. The move occurred after United States President Grover Cleveland rejected Dole's requests for the US annexation of Hawaii (Cleveland wanted to help restore deposed Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani but was blocked by the US Senate).

Anglo-Japanese Treaty

The United Kingdom and the Empire of Japan signed the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation in London. From the date the treaty became effective (17 July 1899), British subjects in Japan would be subject to Japanese laws instead of British laws and consular courts in treaty ports in Japan would cease. Other nations soon followed the British lead, ending Japan's unequal relations with the Western powers.

Capture of Gojong

Despite the peaceful end of the Donghak revolt in June 1894, Japan retained forces in Korea. On 23 July, in the face of Chinese and Korean demands to withdraw, Japanese troops marched from Incheon into the Korean capital of Seoul. Occupying the city, they captured King Gojong and installed a pro-Japanese government.

Battle of Pungdo

In what China would term a "treacherous action", three Japanese cruisers under Tsuboi Kozo opened fire on a small Chinese fleet of one cruiser, two gunboats, and a troopship near Pungdo island in the Bay of Asan, Korea. The Japanese completely annihilated the Chinese, sinking or capturing all but the cruiser and inflicting over 1,000 casualties without suffering damage themselves. The Japanese naval victory left the Chinese Army detachment in nearby Asan isolated and unsupplied, allowing it to be easily defeated by Japan three days later.

Declaration of Sino-Japanese War

After fighting a number of battles in Korea, the Chinese Empire and the Empire of Japan declared war on each other, officially starting the First Sino-Japanese War.

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