Asia Pacific 1905: Russo-Japanese War
Japan swiftly overran Korea and southern Manchuria, capturing Port Arthur after a prolonged siege. In an attempt to gain naval supremacy, Russia sent its European fleet halfway around the world - only to have the Japanese destroy it at Tsushima. Unsuccessful in the war and facing widespread unrest at home, the Russians sued for peace.
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.
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.
8 Feb–1 Jun 1904 Japanese occupation of Korea▲
On 8 February 1904, Japanese troops landed at Chemulpo, in the Korean Empire, advancing to occupy Seoul the next day. While the Japanese fanned out across the country, the Korean government entered into negotiations, eventually signing a treaty effectively recognizing Japanese protection on 23 February.
8 Apr 1904 Entente Cordiale▲
The United Kingdom and the French Republic signed the Entente Cordiale in London, improving Anglo-French relations by settling colonial differences: Britain was given dominance in Egypt and France in Morocco; disputes in West Africa were settled in France’s favor; France renounced rights to fisheries in Newfoundland; and Siam was to be divided into zones of influence.
16 Jun–30 Jul 1904 Free Japanese Brigade▲
In June 1904 retired Japanese Lieutenant Sechu Gunzi led the ‘Free Japanese Brigade’—a contingent of more than 100 Japanese irregulars, mostly fishermen—in an invasion of Kamchatka, Russia. Most of the Japanese landed at Yavino, on the Ozernaya River, with twenty others landing at the mouth of the Opala River. After initially retreating inland, local Russians attacked and expelled the invaders in July.
31 Jul 1904–2 Jan 1905 Siege of Port Arthur▲
Japanese forces advanced on Port Arthur—a heavily fortified Russian naval base on the Liaodong Peninsula in Manchuria, China. After a five-month siege, in which the Japanese suffered about 60,000 casualties and the Russians 31,000, the Russian garrison agreed to surrender.
27 May 1905 Battle of Tsushima▲
The Russian Baltic Fleet under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky, having traveled 18,000 nautical miles to reach the Far East, approached the Straits of Tsushima in an attempt to pass into the port of Vladivostok. Here they were spotted by the Japanese Combined Fleet of Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō, which engaged them in battle, sinking 7 of the 11 Russian battleships for no major losses. The remnants of the Russian fleet were mostly destroyed or captured the following day, with only three warships making it through to Vladivostok.
7–30 Jul 1905 Invasion of Sakhalin▲
Two parties totaling 14,000 Japanese troops landed between Aniwa and Korsakov on Sakhalin island, meeting little opposition. The Japanese moved on to capture Korsakov, defeating 2000 Russians, before heading north to capture most of southern Sakhalin by 16 July. On 24 July, they landed in northern Sakhalin where they forced the 5000 Russian defenders to surrender.
13–20 Aug 1905 Raid on Petropavlovsk▲
In August 1905 the Japanese protected cruisers Suma and Izumi fired on the Russian port of Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka, and seized a steamer. When the Russians withdrew into the interior, the Japanese briefly landed and looted warehouses and government offices. The Japanese then sailed for Bering Island in the nearby Commander Islands chain, but their attempt to force a landing was repelled by the inhabitants.