A small port city in the north of China, located far from Russia, it was taken by our country in 1898. Having been part of the empire for only 7 years, Port Arthur played a tragic role in the history of our country: he aggravated relations with other powers and provoked the Russo-Japanese War.
Why was Russia so eager to get this piece of land and what happened to Port Arthur later?
The lease agreement of Port Arthur was an attempt to stop the territorial expansion of Japan in the Far East and to participate in the division of the weakened Chinese empire.
For a long time, China was a strong advanced state. but
The Celestial Empire had nothing to oppose, and it became a semi-colony of Western countries. Russia, Great Britain, France and Germany vied with each other for the right to take the largest piece of the «Chinese pie»
In fact, the Russian Empire did not want to get hold of Port Arthur specifically, but any major port city in East Asia.
The fact is that by the 19th century, all world trade began to be carried out by sea: it is cheaper and faster than travel by land. But the overwhelming territory of Russia is the northern lands of Eurasia. Most ports froze in winter, and the country could not trade for several months a year.
Obtaining ice-free ports was one of the main tasks of the Russian Empire.
At the end of the 19th century, Japan, the only eastern country that was able to modernize its army and navy using European technologies, also joined the struggle for China.
The Japanese also wanted to take the territory of a weakened China and attacked it in 1894. As a result, the Chinese had to give away part of their territories and pay a huge contribution.
But after 2 years, the Russian government, through bribes to Chinese officials, signed an agreement with the Celestial Empire on the lease of Port Arthur for 25 years! It was literally a slap in the face to my rivals.
The Japanese could not forgive such a trick. Everything they fought for was taken by Russia. The vengeful Asians harbored a grudge and wanted to punish the Europeans. This led to the militarization of society and a future war.
Getting an ice-free port 500 km from Beijing was a gift for Russia. The country quickly began to explore new territories. By 1903, the Chinese Eastern Railway was built — a railway through the whole of northern China. She connected Chita, Vladivostok and Port Arthur.
In addition, Russia began a large-scale project to include North China in the empire and create Zheltorussia. It was planned to Russify and convert the local population to Orthodoxy.
Active trade began with the countries of the East and America. The port city grew before our eyes. Plants, factories, a bank, a printing house appeared, the population grew from a thousand people in 1896 to 42 thousand in 1903!
In 1905, the eastern neighbor took revenge and recaptured the Liaodong Peninsula from Russia. The region became a stronghold of Japan, and in 40 years it conquered all of North China.
The USSR avenged the fallen soldiers of the Russian Empire. In 1945, Soviet troops liberated Port Arthur from the Japanese, and 10 years later Khrushchev returned the region to China.
Did you like the article? Read also on the topic: