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1904

Jan 5  Japan and Russia are still squabbling over control of Korea and Manchuria. Imperialism is accepted policy among the great nations and neither considers leaving the Koreans and the Manchurians (or Chinese) control over their own territory. Russia sends a rifle regiment from Vladivostok to Korea to support its interests there. The Japanese are upset.

Jan 10  Russia's Tsar Nicholas is not eager for war. Russia offers Japan recognition of its preponderance of power in Korea and proposes the neutralization of Korea's coastal waters, but Russia refuses Japan an equal footing with Europeans in Manchuria. Stockmarkets are responding to the news of the conflict. Russia has been recalling its gold reserves from abroad.

Jan 17  Stalin walks away from his exile in Siberia and is on his way to Tiflis (Tblisi) in his native Georgia. He returns to political organizing. Before the year is over he will be siding with the Bolsheviks and will be noticed by Lenin, who is living in exile in Switzerland.

Feb 1  Japan's military leader informs Emperor Meiji (age 51) of a coming preemptive strike against the Russians.

Feb 5  Japan breaks diplomatic relations with Russia. Russian troops are occupying strategic locations on the Manchurian side of the Yalu River.

Feb 8  Japan launches torpedoes against Russian ships at Port Arthur (now Lushan, China). The warring continues into the next day as Japan lands troops at Inchon in Korea. From Inchon they will start marching north toward Manchuria. Russian troops in Korea will be in retreat.

Feb 8  The Great Baltimore Fire in Baltimore, Maryland, destroys over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours. They are still using horse-drawn water pumpers. Out of town help suffers as their hose couplings don't fit Baltimore's hydrants.

Tibetan warrior

Tibet warrior (in an exhibition parade in 1938)

Feb 10  Roger Casement's account of Belgian atrocities in the Congo, commissioned by the British government, is published. A Belgian company was extracting rubber and ivory. Gang bosses were using whips to motivate workers. Villages were required to produce a quota of rubber. Men assigned to control local villages established themselves as despots, using women as they pleased, taking what food supplies they wished, and killing or maiming those who resisted.

Mar 26  In Hyde Park, London, 80,000 demonstrators protest the government importing Chinese laborers to South Africa.

Apr 8  Britain and France end almost a thousand years of intermittent conflict with the signing of a treaty, The Entente Cordiale. France recognizes British control over Egypt; Britain recognizes France's position regarding Morocco. France gives up its exclusive fishery rights on the shores of Newfoundland and in return receives an indemnity and territory in Gambia (Senegal) and Nigeria.

May 1  The first major land battle between the Japanese and Russians, the Battle of Yalu River, takes place. Some Russians surrender and others escape northward. The Russians thought they could easily defeat an East Asian army.

May 5  Russia was known to have interests in the direction of Tibet, and with Russia distracted by the Japanese, a British expeditionary force has moved in. It attacks and defeats a Tibetan force at Changlo.

Jun 28  A passenger liner of Copenhagen, the SS Norge, collides with Hasselwood Rock close to Rockall (between Iceland and Ireland), killing 635, including 225 Norwegian emigrants.

Jul 1  The third modern Olympic Games opens in St. Louis, Missouri, the first Olympic Games held outside Europe. The war between Russia and Japan prevents some of the world's athletes from attending.

Jul 21  The Russians complete the Trans-Siberian Railway, from Moscow to the Far East, the longest rail line in the world. It will not be opened until January. It's a single track, which will cause delays in transporting troops and supplies eastward against the Japanese.

Aug 3  The British Expedition Force takes Tibet's major city: Lhasa.

Aug 11  Germans in their colony of South-West Africa are combating another rebellion. They are machine-gunning the Herero people, poisoning wells and driving them into the Omaheke desert to die.

Sep 7  The Dalai Lama signs the Anglo-Tibetan Treaty. Tibet is obliged to open its border with British India, to allow British and Indian traders to travel freely, not to impose customs duties and not to enter into relations with any foreign power without British approval.

Oct 21-22  Russian warships on their way to the Far East to do war against the Japanese fire on British fishing boats they mistake for Japanese torpedo boats, and they fire on each other – to be known as the Dogger Bank incident. Emotions rise in Britain, with some anger toward Germany because of Germany's support for Russia. Britain's new Admiral of the Fleet, John Fisher, blames Germany for inciting Russia against Britain.

Oct 27  The New York City subway opens.

Nov 8  Republican incumbent Theodore Roosevelt is elected president, defeating the Democratic Party's Alton B. Parker.

Nov 24  The first successful caterpillar track is produced.

Dec 6  Theodore Roosevelt announces his "corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine. It states that rather than have European powers act on legitimate claims against Latin American countries directly, the United States will intervene for them.

Dec 9  during the last few days, the Japanese have destroyed Russia's warships stationed in the Far East. Russia's warships sailing from the Baltic Sea are still on their way to the Pacific and rounding Africa's Cape of Good Hope, burning coal supplied by Germany.

Dec 15  German naval and military attachés in London are convinced Britain is going to attack Germany's navy. The German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, believes the attachés because of his British family's violations of etiquette. He believes that King Edward VII (who dislikes the Kaiser) wants war. Germany's navy, always mobilized, is waiting for orders to sail. The public is unaware of the war scare.

Dec 24  The Kaiser learns that the British admiralty has not been planning to attack the German fleet. The secret war scare is over.

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