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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story


What a century. Colonialism, war, independence, dictatorships, democracy - Asia has experienced them all.
The following is a selective list of colonial episodes,
liberations and watershed events of the past 100 years.


1892 The Katipunan, a secret pro-independence organization, is founded by Philippine revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio.

1893-1907 In a series of treaties, Siam hands over all its territories east of the Mekong River to France.

1894-95 The Sino-Japanese War. Japan's victory results in the acquisition of Taiwan.

1896 Start of the Philippine Revolution. The execution of nationalist leader José Rizal gives further impetus to the rebellion.

1898 The New Territories to the north of Hong Kong are leased to Britain for 99 years.

1898 Philippine leaders sign the Proclamation of Independence, June 12. The Philippine Republic is inaugurated in January 1899.


1900 China's anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion is put down by Western troops.

1904-5 The Russo-Japanese War. Japan's victory marks its rise as a major world power.

1905 Korea becomes a Japanese protectorate.

1909 Siam's Malay vassal states - Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Trengganu - are ceded to the British.


1910 Japan formally annexes Korea.

1912 Pu Yi, China's last emperor, abdicates.

1913 Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, above, receives the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1919 Korea's March 1 Movement calls for independence but is crushed by the Japanese.

1919 British troops fire on an unarmed crowd at Jallianwallah Bagh in Amritsar. The atrocity galvanizes India's independence movement.

1919 Amid much intellectual and social ferment, Chinese students launch the May 4 Movement to protest against the unfair terms of the Treaty of Versailles.


1924 The Mongolian People's Republic is officially proclaimed.

1926 Vietnam's Cao Dai religious sect (church, below right), an eclectic amalgamation of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Catholicism, is founded.


1930 Mahatma Gandhi leads the Salt March to protest against the British authorities' tax on salt.

1931 Japan occupies Manchuria and establishes the puppet state of Manchukuo.

1932 A bloodless coup results in the abolition of absolute monarchy in Siam.

1937 Japan invades China after skirmishes flare along the Marco Polo Bridge near Beijing.

1939 Siam is renamed Thailand.


1940-45 Much of Southeast Asia falls to Japanese troops, including Hong Kong (1941), Malaya, Indonesia and Singapore (1942).

1941 Vietnam's left-leaning pro-independence group, the Viet Minh, is founded.

1942 The Quit India movement calls on Britain to leave and begins a campaign of violence (e.g., blowing up bridges, burning buildings).

1945 The U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan's subsequent surrender marks the end of World War II.

1945 Korea is liberated from Japanese colonial rule, Aug. 15. The country is divided into two to facilitate the surrender of Japanese soldiers.

1945 Indonesian nationalist leaders Sukarno and Hatta proclaim Independence, Aug. 17. The Dutch initially try to hang on to their colonial possession but finally leave Indonesia in 1949.

1945 Vietnamese emperor Bao Dai abdicates. Revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh declares Independence in Hanoi, Sept. 2.

1946 The Philippines gains Independence from the U.S., July 4.

1947 The partition of India into separate Hindu and Muslim states is announced in June. Pakistan becomes Independent on Aug. 14, followed by India the next day.

1947 Burmese nationalist leader Aung San is assassinated by political rivals.

1948 Burma is declared Independent, Jan. 4.

1948 Mahatma Gandhi is shot dead by a Hindu extremist, Jan. 30.

1948 Ceylon gains Independence from Britain, Feb. 4.

1948 The Federation of Malaya comes into being. A communist insurgency leads to a 12-year state of emergency.

1948 The U.S.-backed Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) are officially established.

1949 China's civil war ends in the Communists' victory. The Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek flee to Taiwan to form a rival government.


1950-53 The Korean War. The conflict devastates the peninsula and ends in a stalemate.

1952 America's post-war occupation of Japan comes to an end.

1953 Cambodia and Laos gain Independence from France.

1954 French forces are defeated by the Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu, signifying the end of France's involvement in Vietnam.

1955 The Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) is proclaimed an independent nation with U.S. support.

1957 Malaya is formally declared Independent, Aug. 31.

1959 In Tibet, an uprising against Chinese rule is suppressed; the Dalai Lama flees to India.


1962 Gen. Ne Win seizes power in Burma and institutes a xenophobic brand of socialism.

1963 Malaya joins with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore to form the Federation of Malaysia. Indonesia seeks to break the union through its belligerent konfrontasi policy.

1964 Tokyo hosts Asia's first Olympics.

1964 China detonates its first atomic bomb.

1965 Singapore leaves the Malaysian federation and becomes an independent state, Aug. 9.

1965 Suharto grabs power in Indonesia following an abortive coup, allegedly hatched by Communists. The nation descends into anarchy as mobs massacre suspected leftists.

1967 The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is founded in Bangkok.


1971 Backed by India, East Pakistan secedes to become Bangladesh. The subsequent Third Indo-Pakistan War results in India's victory.

1972 Ceylon is renamed Sri Lanka.

1975 The Khmer Rouge capture Phnom Penh and embark on a genocidal social experiment to create an agrarian utopia.

1975 Saigon falls to the North Vietnamese. Vietnam is unified under the Communists.

1975 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh's independence hero and first president, is assassinated by army officers.

1975 The communist Pathet Lao come to power in Laos. The Lao People's Democratic Republic is officially established.

1976 Chinese leader Mao Zedong dies and the radical Gang of Four falls from grace. Deng Xiaoping is eventually rehabilitated and sets China on the road to free-market reform.

1979 The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan.


1980 Pro-democracy demonstrations escalate into violence in Kwangju, South Korea, culminating in a brutal crackdown.

1983 Philippine opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino is murdered in Manila.

1984 Indian government troops storm the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Sikhism's holiest shrine. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is subsequently assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.

1984 Beijing and London sign the Joint Declaration, under which Hong Kong is to be returned to China in 1997.

1986 "People Power" in the Philippines topples the Marcos regime and restores democracy.

1986 Vietnam launches its landmark doi moi (renovation) economic-reform program.

1987 Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang lifts martial law after 38 years.

1987 Military rule ends in South Korea after nationwide demonstrations force strongman Chun Doo Hwan to hold presidential elections.

1988 Pakistan's military dictator Zia ul-Haq is killed in an air crash. Elections follow.

1988 The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) takes charge in Burma. The name of the country is changed to the Union of Myanmar in 1989.

1989 Beijing's Tiananmen Square becomes the venue for large-scale student demonstrations, symbolized by the Goddess of Democracy, below. Troops crush the movement, June 4.

1989 After a decade of battling mujahideen rebels, the Soviet Union completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan.


1990 In the face of widespread demonstrations, Mongolia's communist rulers abandon their monopoly on power and hold elections.

1990 In Nepal, massive pro-democracy rallies lead to the lifting of the ban on political parties.

1990 National elections in Myanmar are won by oppositionist Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, but SLORC refuses to honor the results. Suu Kyi is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.

1990 Nationwide protests and general strikes in Bangladesh force military strongman Hussain Muhammad Ershad to step down.

1992 A bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok results in the ousting of unelected prime minister Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon.

1996 Lee Teng-hui becomes Taiwan's first directly elected president.

1997 British colonial rule ends in Hong Kong, which becomes a Special Administrative Region of China.

1999 Macau is scheduled to return to China.

Next Article

Main Article


This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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