Asia Pacific 1895: Triple Intervention and Taiwan

Japanese gains in the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895) conflicted with Russian interests in northern China. Less than a week after the treaty was signed, Russia, together with France and Germany, intervened to force Japan to withdraw from the Liaodong Peninsula. Meanwhile, Taiwan rejected being ceded to Japan and declared its independence, but quickly fell to Japanese forces.


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

23 Apr 1895 Triple Intervention

In diplomatically threatening language, the Russian Empire expressed concern that the Treaty of Shimonoseki between the Empire of Japan and the Chinese Empire could destabilize China, noting in particular the cession of Liaodong Peninsula to Japan. Russia was supported by the French Republic and the German Empire, who together pressured Japan to abandon the peninsula in return for a larger indemnity from wikipedia

5 May 1895 Japan accedes to Triple Intervention

Bowing to Russian, French, and German pressure, the Japanese government reluctantly agreed to withdraw from the Liaodong Peninsula in exchange for an additional indemnity from China. The Japanese completed their withdrawal by December 1895, only to see the Russians move in to occupy the peninsula two years wikipedia

23 May 1895 Republic of Formosa

Rejecting China’s agreement to cede Taiwan to Japan, Chinese notables in Taiwan proclaimed the province’s independence as the free and democratic Republic of Formosa (a common name for Taiwan at the time). Tang Ching-sung—the Qing governor-general of Taiwan—became the republic’s first president. The new republic was not recognized by any foreign nation, surviving undisturbed for less than a week before the Japanese wikipedia