Transimperial Networks and East Asia: Timeline

Korean world map centered on China and Korea showing rivers in blue and settlements with red markers.

Production Details

Timeline Creators: Menglu Gao, Sophia Hsu, Waiyee Loh, Hyungji Park, Jessica R. Valdez, Adrian S. Wisnicki (tech. dev.), Rae X. Yan

Cluster Developer: Sophia Hsu Contact

Lesson Plan Cluster Title: Transimperial Networks and East Asia

Publication Date: 2022

Overview and Timeline

To help instructors and students who may be unfamiliar with the history of East Asia and its transimperial exchanges with the Anglophone world, the creators of the “Transimperial Networks and East Asia” lesson plan cluster built this timeline, which includes some major historical events from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. This timeline comes out of our many discussions about the methodological issues that arise when the field of Victorian Studies seeks to expand its traditional geographical scope. As we quickly realized in the process of creating our cluster, the usual boundaries of the long nineteenth century (the French Revolution to World War I) are too limited and Eurocentric for the transimperial connections our lesson plans examine. Thus, we offer this timeline both to orient instructors and students and to illustrate how centering East Asia calls into question our field’s most basic assumptions. For more historical context and resources, please peruse each lesson plan.

Note for users with visual impairments: The timeline below presents items along a vertical axis, with events being given in a descending, alternating right-left fashion (desktop) or one below another (mobile).

Centuries: 1400s 1500s 1600s 1700s 1800s 1900s


The Korean world map, the Kangnido, is completed


First appearance of Korea in a Western world map


East India Company (EIC) incorporated


EIC starts to import tea from China


EIC begins its involvement in the opium trade


Boston Tea Party


American Independence


George Macartney’s failed mission to China to extend trade and diplomatic relations between Britain and China

4 September 1839–29 August 1842

First Opium War

29 August 1842

Britain and China sign the Treaty of Nanking

26 June 1843

China cedes Hong Kong Island to Britain

17 November 1843

Opening of Shanghai and other treaty ports in China


Taiping Rebellion in China


Commodore Perry arrives in Japan


Japan and the US sign the Treaty of Kanagawa


Second Opium War

29 July 1858

Japan and the US sign the Harris Treaty

26 August 1858

Japan and Britain sign the Elgin Treaty


Opening of Yokohama and other treaty ports in Japan


Meiji Restoration in Japan

26 February 1876

Korea and Japan sign the Treaty of Kanghwa, resulting in the opening of Busan, Incheon, and Wonsan in Korea

6 May 1882–1943

US Chinese Exclusion Act


Britain and Japan revise unequal treaties

25 July 1894–17 April 1895

First Sino-Japanese War

17 April 1895

China cedes Taiwan to Japan

8 October 1895

Assassination of Korean Queen Min


100 Days' Reform in China


End of the treaty port system in Japan


Boxer Uprising in China

8 February 1904–5 September 1905

Russo-Japanese War

17 November 1905

Korea becomes a protectorate of Japan


Japanese annexation of Korea

10 October 1911–12 February 1912

Chinese Revolution

1 January 1912

Establishment of the Republic of China


First World War


Warlord Era begins in China

1 March 1919

March First Movement in Korea

4 May 1919

May Fourth Movement in China


Chinese Civil War begins


Great Depression

18 September 1931

Manchurian Incident, which led to the Japanese occupation of Manchuria


Formation of Manchukuo

7 July 1937

Marco Polo Bridge Incident

7 July 1937–2 September 1945

Second Sino-Japanese War


Second World War


Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and invades Southeast Asia

15 February 1942

British forces surrender to Japan in Singapore, leading to the Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia

2 September 1945

Surrender of Japan and the end of the Japanese Empire


Chinese Communist Party establishes the People's Republic of China

Note: Users interested in seeing an animated, horizontally-oriented version of our timeline may wish to consult the version we created through Knightlab's TimelineJS. However, users should also note that the Knightlab timeline is on an external site and is not coded for visual accessibility.

Header Image Caption

Kim Sahyung, et al. Kangnido. 1402. Wikimedia Commons, Dschingis Khan und seine Erben (exhibition catalogue), München 2005, p. 336–37.

Page Citation (MLA)

Sophia Hsu, Menglu Gao, Waiyee Loh, Hyungji Park, Jessica R. Valdez, Adrian S. Wisnicki, and Rae X. Yan. “Transimperial Networks and East Asia: Timeline” Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom, 2022,