Treaty of Shimonoseki

The Rise of Japan

East Asia 1895.0417

Treaty of Shimonoseki

The Rise of Japan, the Spanish-American War, and the Boxer Rebellion (17 April 1895)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

After defeating the Chinese in Korea in 1894, Japanese forces invaded China itself, occupying the Liaodong Peninsula and destroying the Chinese fleet in the battles of the Yalu River and Weihaiwei. With the loss of its navy, China sued for peace. At the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Japan was granted control of the Liaodong Peninsula and the island of Taiwan.

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

Battle of the Yalu River

Ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the Chinese Beiyang Fleet in the Yellow Sea, off the mouth of the Yalu River on the Korean-Chinese border. Although the Chinese had the superior ships - including the only two battleships in the conflict - the Japanese were better trained and their ships were faster. After a day of battle, the Japanese prevailed, forcing the remnants of the Chinese fleet to withdraw to Lüshunkou.

Battle of Ugeumchi

The Second Donghak Revolt began in early October 1894, when anti-foreign Donghak peasant forces under Jeon Bongjun rose up against the Japanese domination of the Korean government. The rebels confronted the Korean army in Ugeumchi, southern Korea, but were routed when Japanese reinforcements arrived. The Donghak army scattered, with Jeon Bongjun eventually caught and hanged in March 1895.

Battle of Lushunkou

After landing in the Liaodong Peninsula in southern Manchuria in early November 1894, Japanese troops advanced on the heavily fortified Chinese naval base of Lüshunkou (later to become the naval base of Port Arthur), prompting the Chinese to withdraw their Beiyang Fleet across the Yellow Sea to Weihaiwei. On 20 November, the Japanese reached the outskirts of Lüshunkou, capturing the town in an assault starting early the following day.

1895 Wilcox Rebellion

Hawaiian Royalists launched a rebellion to overthrow the Republic of Hawaii and restore Queen Liliʻuokalani to the throne, persuading Native Hawaiian revolutionary Robert Wilcox to lead them. In three largely bloodless battles on the island of Oahu, the Royalists were defeated by Republican forces. As a result, Liliʻuokalani was forced to abdicate, ending any serious attempts to restore the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Battle of Weihaiwei

On 20 January 1895, Japanese forces landed on the Shandong peninsula to the east of the Chinese naval base of Weihaiwei, where the remnants of the Beiyang Fleet had taken refuge. While their troops advanced on the town from multiple directions (capturing it on 2 February), Japanese torpedo boat attacks wreaked havoc on the anchored Chinese ships. On 12 February, the Chinese fleet and remaining forces surrendered, leaving China without a navy and prompting it to sue for peace with Japan.

Pescadores Campaign

While negotiations to end the First Sino-Japanese War were underway, hostilities in northern China were brought to a halt. The armistice, however, excluded the south, allowing the Japanese to land forces in the Pescadores Islands between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland in March 1895. The seizure of the Pescadores prevented the Chinese reinforcing Taiwan, giving Japan a claim to that island in the final peace treaty.

Treaty of Shimonoseki

The Empire of Japan signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki with the Chinese Empire in Shimonoseki, Japan, bringing an end to the First Sino-Japanese War. By the terms of the treaty, China agreed to recognize the complete independence of Korea; cede the Pescadores, Taiwan, and the Liaodong Peninsula to Japan; pay Japan a 200 million Kuping tael war indemnity; open four ports to Japan; and grant Japan most-favored-nation status.

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