Attack on Port Arthur

The Rise of Japan

East Asia 1904.0208

Attack on Port Arthur

The Rise of Japan, the Spanish-American War, and the Boxer Rebellion (8 February 1904)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

The 1902 Anglo-Japanese Alliance freed Japan from the fear of war with a coalition of European powers. Emboldened, they moved to expel the Russians from Manchuria, attacking the Russian Pacific Fleet at Port Arthur in 1904.

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

Dutch settle New Guinea frontier

In response to British protests that Marind-Anim from Dutch New Guinea were raiding British New Guinea and the Torres Strait Islands, the Dutch built a post near the border at Merauke. Later in 1902, the Dutch tried to set up a border commission with German New Guinea, but this was rejected by the Germans on the grounds that neither country had settlements in the region. The Dutch built Hollandia by the German border in 1910.

Russia-China Convention

At the Russia-China Convention, the Russian Empire agreed to withdraw from Manchuria in three six month stages. They undertook the first stage - withdrawing from west of the River Liao - on 29 April 1902. However, the Russians made no movement to complete the remaining two stages, intended to begin with a withdrawal from Mukden and Kirin.

End of Philippine-American War

Filipino guerrilla General Miguel Malvar surrendered to US General Franklin Bell in Tanauan, Batangas, after being surrounded by US and cooperating Philippine forces. This action effectively brought an end to the Philippine-American War, although sporadic and low level resistance would continue for almost a decade. On 4 July 1902, US President Theodore Roosevelt granted a complete pardon and amnesty to all participants in the conflict.

Pacification of Taiwan

Japanese authorities ordered 'pacified bandits' - those who had accepted amnesty in 1900 but were suspected of continuing resistance - to assemble at six points in southern Taiwan. Those who obeyed the order were shot; the others were hunted down in the following days, with the Japanese killing rebel leader Lin Shao-mao and his followers on 31 May. The rebellion was officially declared at an end on 4 June.

British expedition to Tibet

Colonel Francis Younghusband led an expedition from British India to Tibet - a nominal part of the Chinese Empire - to establish diplomatic relations, resolve the Tibet-Sikkim border dispute, and preempt possible Russian designs on the country. When the Tibetans resisted the incursion, the British fought their way into Lhasa with their modern weaponry only to find that the Dalai Lama had fled to China.

Battle of Port Arthur

The Empire of Japan launched a squadron of destroyers on a surprise night attack against the Russian fleet anchored at Port Arthur, Manchuria. Engagements continued over the following morning, ending at midday when the Japanese withdrew. Although neither side had lost any major ships in the battle, the Russians were ill-equipped to repair their damages. The next day, on 10 February, the Japanese declared war, formally beginning the Russo-Japanese War.

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