Category Archives: On this day in SEA history

On 29 March in Southeast Asian history

1973-03 Last US in China freed


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Updated on March 29, 2017

1521: On Good Friday, a kasikasi (blood compact) between Magellan and Rajah Kolambu, emissary of the King of Limasawa, an island off the coast of southern Leyte, sealed an implicit political pact between Spain and the Philippines

1918: Birth of Lê Văn Thiêm, Vietnamese mathematician, who died on June 3, 1991

1937: Birth of Roberto Chabet, Filipino painter and sculptor who died on April 30, 2013

Roberto Chabet

1942: The Communist Party of the Philippines, founds the People’s Anti-Japanese Army (Huk) under the command of Luis Taruc

1945 : The Japanese called off the attempt to recapture Meiktila, Burma

1946: Dr. Phat, member of the Cochin-China Consultative Council, is assassinated by members of the Viet Minh

1955: In Saigon (South Vietnam), Violent fighting during two days between the Buddhist Binh-Xuyen sect and the National army  loyal to President Ngo Dinh Diem

1961 End of the meeting of SEATO which excludes any immediate military action in Laos

1969: In the Philippines, foundation of the New People’s Army, by the Communist Party (maoist) led by Bernabe Buscayno (Kumander Dante)

1971: Lt William Calley is convinced of premeditated murder for the My Lay massacre (Vietnam) and sentenced to life in prison

1973: The last United State soldiers leave South Vietnam and Hanoi frees the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam


1973-03 Last US in China freed

1973: Operation Barrel Roll, a covert US bombing campaign in Laos to stop communist infiltration of South Vietnam, ends

1977: Death of General Sein Win, born on March 19, 1919, seventh Burma’s prime minister, succeeded by General Maung Maung Kha till July 1988

1979: Death of Sultan Yahya Petra, Sultan of Kelantan (1960-1979) and king of Malaysia (1975-1979), born on December 10, 1017

Sultan Yahya Petra

2002: Death of Rico Yan, Philippine young movie and TV actor, born in March 1975

2006: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen declares the representative of United Nations persona non grata because he criticized the situation on human rights in Cambodia

2007: In Thailand, beginning of demonstrations for the end of the military rule and the return of democracy

2010: The party of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi decides not to contest the first election in military-ruled Myanmar in two decades. The National League for Democracy (NLD) said it could not participate in a process criticised by Suu Kyi as « unjust »

On 28 March in Southeast Asian history

1951-03-28 Battle of Mao Khe


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Updated on March 28, 2017

 1883: The Battle of Gia Cuc, fought on 27 and 28 March 1883, was a battle in the Tonkin campaign between the French and Vietnamese, during the period of undeclared hostilities that preceded the Sino-French War (August 1884–April 1885)

1945 : Birth of Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines

1948: The Burma Communist Party White Flag faction, led by Thakin Than Tun, launches a general insurrection in the  region of Pegu which is crushed in December

Thakin Than Tun

1951: During the First Indochina War, end of the Battle of Mao Khe. The French Union forces, led by General de Lattre de Tassigny, inflict a defeat on Việt Minh forces commanded by General Võ Nguyên Giap

1951-03-28 Battle of Mao Khe

1960: Pope John XXIII appoints Rufino Jiao Santos the first Filipino cardinal

1967: U Thant, United Nations General Secretary, suggests a general truce in Vietnam. USA agree

1997: Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, signed on December 15, 1995, enters in force

2001: Xanana Gusmao resigns of the presidency of the National Council of East-Timor (transitional parliament) and is replaced by Ramos Horta

2005: The 2005 Sumatran earthquake rocks Indonesia, and at magnitude 8.7 is the second strongest earthquake since 1960

2010: Talks between Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai prime minister, and leaders of the anti-government « red shirt » protesters have ended without an agreement on how to solve the country’s political crisis                                                                                            


On 27 March in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on March 27, 2017

1665: Cebu is established, becoming the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines

1883: Capture of Nam Dinh (North Vietnam) by the French

1883-03-27 Nam Dinh Battle

1890 : Birth of Ruperto Kangleon, a legend in the resistance movement during the Japanese occupation who died on February 27, 1958

1899: Emilio Aguinaldo leads Filipino forces for the only time during the Philippine-American War at the Battle of Marilao River                                             

1933: Birth of Le Van Hung, Vietnamese general who committed suicide on the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975

Le Van Hung 2

1942: Japan forces Java to use « Tokyo time » 1½ hour forward

1945: The Burma National Army, under the command of General Aung San, rises up against the occupying Japanese

Burma National Army

1956: In Burma, the United National Front, leftist forces led by Burma Communist Party « White Flag) gets 30 % of the votes and 47 of the 250 seats in the National Assembly

1965: Following several days of consultations with the Cambodian government, South Vietnamese troops launch their first major military operation into Cambodia

1967: A new peace plan for Vietnam, proposed by United Nations General Secretary U Thant, is approved by Washington but rejected by Hanoi

1979: In Vietnam, for the first time, a Soviet warship drops anchor in Cam Ranh Bay

1981: Birth of Lin Junjie, Singaporean singer                                                                                                     

1985: Devan Nair is forced to resign as Singapore president

1999: Death of Michael Aris, husband of Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu kyi and Aris 1973

2001: In Oslo, opening of four-day talks between the Philippine government and the communist guerilla. Next meeting is fixed on June

2007: The Myanmar military junta challenges West by a imposing military parade in the new capital, Naypydaw, which is opened for the first time to foreign medias

2009: Situ Gintung, an artificial lake in Indonesia, fails, killing at least 99 people

2014: The Philippine government signs a peace accord with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group. It is the culmination of years of negotiations and a significant political achievement for President Benigno Aquino III


Holidays and observances

Myanmar: Armed Forces Day

On 26 March in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on March 26, 2017

1867: Birth of Braulio Rivera, Filipino independence martyr, put to death by firing squad on January 11, 1897 along with 12 others

1920: During the American colonial period, the Philippine Legislature passes Act No. 2928 adopting the Filipino flag of the so-called Malolos Republic as the official flag of the Government of the Philippine Islands to be flown next to the American flag

1931: The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union is founded in Vietnam

1966: In South Vietnam, beginning of the Buddhist uprising

1975: The city of Hue is secured by Vietnamese communist forces

2006: The military junta ruling Myanmar officially named Naypyidaw as the new capital

2009: Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak is elected chief of Malaysia’s ruling party, UNMO


On 25 March in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on March 25, 2017

1936 : President Quezon issued EO No. 23 which prescribes the specifications of the Philippines national flag

1947: Netherlands government finally ratifies 1946 November 11, Linggadjati agreement by which Netherlands recognize the authority of the Republic of Indonesia on a part of the Netherland Indies

1953: Burma call on United Nations to get the withdrawal of the remaining Kuomintang soldiers on its soil

1969: South Vietnam government says that it is ready to have talks with the communist National Liberation Front

1971: The Army of the Republic of Vietnam abandon an attempt to cut off the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos

1975: South Vietnamese troops lose the former imperial city of Hue

1975-03-25 Prise de Hué

1986 : Cory Aquino issues Proclamation No. 3 establishing a revolutionary government

1994: Cambodian rebels captured the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Pailin and will become the capital of the non recognised Provisional Government of National Union and National Salvation of Cambodia

1997: Anti-Chinese Incidents in Pekalongan (Java). 60 shops are set on fire

2015: A Myanmar court laid charges, including rioting, against 69 students involved in a protest two weeks ago that was broken up in a police action that drew sharp criticism from Western governments, a student activist said

On 24 March in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on March 24, 2017

1885: During the Sino-French War, Chinese victory in the Battle of Bang Bo on the Tonkin-Guangxi border

1905: Birth of Pura Santillan-Castrence, Filipino writer, died on January 15, 2007

Pura Santillan-Castrence

1926: Death of Phan Chu Trinh, Vietnamese nationalist, born on September 9, 1872

1934: Bao Dai, emperor of Vietnam, marries a Catholic South Vietnamese girl named Jeanette Nguyen-Huu-Hao, the later Empress Nam-Phuong

1934: The Tydings McDuffie Act, otherwise known as the Philippine Independence Act, is approved by the US Congress, providing for the independence of the Philippines from the United States by 1946

1935: First day of self governance for the Philippines

1955: In Cambodia, Prince Sihanouk forms his own political movement Sangkum Reastr Niyum (Popular Socialist Coordination)

1975: The North Vietnamese « Ho Chi Minh Campaign » begins. Despite the 1973 Paris Peace Accords cease fire, the fighting had continued between South Vietnamese forces and the North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam

1974: Birth of Tado, Filipino comedian and actor who died in a bus accident on February 7, 2014

1975: Birth of  Krisdayanti, Indonesian singer, actress and diva

1986: In the Philippines, the February 7, presidential election giving Ferdinand Marcos as the winner is nullified in favor of Corazon Aquino,_1986

1990: Birth of Aljur Abrenica, Filipino actor

2004: Former Indonesia president Suharto tops of the most corrupted leaders by Transparency International


On 23 March in Southeast Asian history

1901-03-23 capture of Aguinaldo


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Updated on March 23, 2017

1400: The Tran Dynasty of Vietnam is deposed after one hundred and seventy-five years of rule by General Ho Quy Ly

Ho Quy Ly

1885: The Battle of Phu Lam Tao, a politically-significant engagement during the Sino-French War (August 1884-April 1885), in which a French Zouave battalion was defeated by a mixed force of Chinese soldiers and Black Flags

1895: Birth of Encarnacion Alzona, Filipino historian, first Filipina to get a PH D, who died on March 13, 2001

1901: Filipino nationalist Emilio Aguinaldo is captured

1901-03-23 capture of Aguinaldo

1935: The US president approves the constitution of the Commonwealth of the Philippines

1957: Carlos P. Garcia becomes president of the Philippines up to December 1961

1958: Elections for the Cambodian National Assembly. The Sangkom Reash Niyum of prince Norodom Sihanouk wins all 61 seats

1969: the Royal Lao Army launches a large attack (Cu Kiet Campaign) against the communists in the Plain of Jars/Xieng Khoang areas, supported by its own air units and the U.S. Air Force

1979: Signature of an Amity treaty between Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam control all Indochina

1997: A grenade attack at a political rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, kills 10 people and wounds 101 others, including Cambodia’s leading opposition politician and an American

2009: Malaysia’s government imposes a ban on two main opposition newspapers, ahead of key political developments. Harakah and Suara Keadilan have been told they cannot publish for the next three months, with immediate effect

2013: Death of Onofre Corpuz, Filipino economist, historian, and academic, born on December 1, 1926

Onofre Corpuz

 2015: Death of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister and architect of the tiny Southeast Asian city-state’s rapid rise from British tropical outpost to global trade and financial centre, aged 91

On 22 March in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on March 22, 2017

924: Birth of Dinh Bo Linh, the first emperor of Vietnam who died in 979

1784: In Thailand, the Esmeralda Buddha is moved with great ceremony to its current place in Wat Phra Kaew

1869: Birth of Emilio Aguinaldo, Filipino independence leader and first president of the Philippines who died on February 6, 1964

Andrés Bonifacio

1897: In the Philippines, by the Tejeros Convention, the Katipunan (KKK) rebellion establishes a government with Emilio Aguinaldo as president

1915 : The Sultan of Sulu, Hadji Mohammad Jamalul Kiram, signs an agreement with the US governor of the Department of Mindano and Sulu, Frank W. Carpenter, renouncing his sovereignty over the Sulu archipelago.

1929: Birth of P. Ramlee, Malaysian actor, singer and song writer, who died on May 27, 1973

1940: Birth of Haing S. Ngor, Cambodian/American actor, who died on February 25, 1996

1973: General Suharto, president of Indonesia, and only one candidate, is reelected for five years and will be reelected up to 1998

1974: The Viet Cong proposes a new truce with the U.S. and South Vietnam. The truce included general élections

1978: In Indonesia, General Suharto is reelected for a third term as President. He is the only one candidate

2006: In the Philippines, beginning of the trial of former president Joseph Estrada charged to have illegally pocketed 77 million dollars during his tenure

2006-03-22 Estrada procès

2013: 62 people are killed and 200 are injured after a fire destroys a camp containing Burmese refugees near Ban Mae, Thailand.

2014: Communist Party of the Philippines chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife, the party’s secretary general Wilma Tiamzon, have been arrested in a joint police and military operation, military chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista said

2014-03-22 Benito Tiamzon arrest


On 21 March in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on March 21, 2017

1851: Viêt-Nam emperor Tu Duc orders the killing of Christian priests

1897 : Marcela Marcelo, the Woman General of the Philippine revolution dies in the Battle of Pasong Santol (Dasmariñas), Cavite.

1947 : the Joint United States Military Advisory Group or JUSMAG, which played a key role in suppressing the Philippine Huk rebellion in the 1950s, was organized

1955: In Vietnam, the buddhist sects present President Ngo Dinh Diem an ultimatum demanding the formation of a National Union government

1956: In Laos, Prince Souvanna Phouma is named Prime Minister, putting an end to the political crisis and joins the neutralist faction

Souvanna Phouma

1960: Birth of Benito de Leon, Filipino military officer

1967: North Vietnam rejects US president Johnson overture

1968: In Indonesia, Suharto is officially elected President of the Republic

1972: Khmer Rouge shell Phnom Penh

2003: Death of Umar Wirahadikusumah, Fourth Vice President of Indonesia, born in 1924

2004: General elections in Malaysia. The ruling coalition Barisan Nasional Le Front National wins 198 of the 219 seats, of which 109 for Umno,_2004

2006: In Laos, Choummaly Sayasone, 70, a retired general, replaces Khamtay Siphandone as leader of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party

Choummaly Sayasone 3

2009: In Thailand, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and all five cabinet ministers targeted in the two-day censure debate survive no-confidence vote

2011: The ruling communist party of Laos reelects its incumbent leader to a new five-year term. The 9th Party Congress unanimously approved Choummaly Sayasone as secretary-general of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party. He was first elected to the post in 2006

2014: Thai court rules that general election is invalid. The vote was unconstitutional because it did not take place on the same day across the country

On 20 March in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on March 20, 2017

1602: The Dutch East India Company (VOC) is established

1736: Birth of Chao Phraya Chakri who founded the current Chakri dynasty in Thailand in April 1782 (Rama I) and died in September 1809

1833: US and Siam sign a treaty of amity and commerce v

1942: General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, makes his famous speech regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he says: « I came out of Bataan and I shall return »

1945: The British, with the 19th Indian Division retake Mandalay in Burma

1945-03-20 Prise de Mandalay

1946: Death of Amir Hamzah, Indonesian poet (Buah Rindu), born on February 28, 1911

1951: Indonesian army offensive against Darul Islam on Java

1956: Indonesian Assembly (DPR) convenes. PNI-Masyumi-NU coalition forms government. Ali Sastroamidjojo is Prime Minister

1969: US president Nixon proclaims he will end Vietnam war in 1970

1990: Ferdinand Marcos’s widows, Imelda Marcos, goes on trial for bribery, embezzlement and racketing

1990: Birth of Joaquin Maria Gutierrez, Filipino violinist