Category Archives: On this day in SEA history

On 21 April in Southeast Asian history

Bangkok 1822


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Updated on April 21, 2019

900 AD: The Laguna Copperplate Inscription (the earliest known written document found in what is now the Philippines) : the Honourable Namwaran and his children, Lady Angkatan and Bukah, are granted pardon from all their debts by the Commander and Chief of Tundun, as represented by the Honourable Jayadewa, Lord Minister of Pailah. Luzon, Philippines

1521: In the Philippines, Ferdinand Magellan baptisms Cebu island chief Rajah Humabon, his wife Ratu Humanay and 500 of their followers

1782: The city of Rattanakosin, now known internationally as Bangkok, is founded on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama 1) as his new capital

Bangkok 1822

1879: Birth of Raden Ajeng Kartini, Indonesian leading feminist who died on September 17, 1904

R. A. Kartini

1954: Birth of Ebiet G. Ade, Indonesian singer

1975: President of South Vietnam Nguyen Van Thieu resigns and flees to Taiwan

1997: Death of Diosdado Pangan Macapagal, 9th president of the Philippines (1961-1965) born on 28 September 1910

2014: Death of Win Tin, one of the founders of Myanmar’s pro-democracy opposition and the nation’s longest-serving political prisoner

2016: Laos National Assemby names 78-year-old Bounnhang Vorachit for the nation’s President post while Tongloun Sisoulith, 70, will take on the prime ministerial role


Holidays and observances

Indonesia: Kartini Day

On 20 April in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on April 20, 2019

1752: Start of Konbaung–Hanthawaddy War, a new phase in the Burmese Civil War (1740–57)

1967: Us planes bomb North Vietnam port Haiphong for the first time during Vietnam War

1970: US President Nixon announces that 150,000 soldiers will come back from Vietnam before the end of the year

1972: In Burma, General San Yu is appointed commander in chief of Tatmadaw or Armed forces of Burma

1996: Death of Tran Van Tra, communist Vietnamese general and politician, born in 1918

Tran Van Tra

2003: In Thailand, by 323 votes vs 16, Banyat Bantadtan, 61, succeeds Chuan Leekpai as president of the Democratic Party, the only one opposition force in the parliament

2013: The European Union will drop most sanctions against Burma to reward the country’s progress toward democracy, two EU diplomats said

On 19 April in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on April 19, 2019

1901: In the Philippines, Aguinaldo’s Proclamation of Formal Surrender to the United States

1937: Birth of Joseph Estrada president of the Philippines from July 1998 to January 2001

1948: Burma (now Myanmar) joins the United Nations

1964: In Laos, rightist military coup. Neutral Souvanna Phuma remains as Premier

1966: Australian troops leave for Vietnam to help the United States, according to a mutual defense agreement signed in 1951

1971: Vietnam Veterans Against the War, begin a five-day demonstration in Washington DC

1974: Birth of Akara Amarttayakul, Thai actor

1981: Birth of Napakpapha Nakprasitte, Thai film actress

1990: Birth of Kim Chiu, Filipino actress


On 18 April in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on 18 April 2019

1613: In now Indonesia, Dutch take Solor from Portuguese. Portuguese Dominicans move headquarters to Larantuka, Flores

1877: Birth of Vicente Sotto, Filipino patriot and author who died on July 16, 1950

1955: Opening of the Afro-Asian Bandung Conference

1958: In Indonesia, government troops re-conquer Padang in central Sumatra, hold by around 800 rebel troops led by Lieutenant-Colonel Hussein

1964: Birth of Rithy Panh, Cambodia-born French documentary film director

1977: Birth of Anna Fegi, Filipino singer

1979: Breaking off of negotiations between China and Vietnam which were opened on April 14

1999: Death of Philippines born-Chinese general Ye Fei, anti-Japanese war hero

2005: In Malaysia, beginning of talks between Muslim separatists of MILF and Philippine government

2006: Opening of the 10th congress of the Communist party of Vietnam (up to April 25)

2014: Seven people were killed in a gun battle between border guards and Chinese illegal migrants at a remote frontier crossing in northeast Vietnam

2016: A Chinese military aircraft publicly lands at a new airport on an artificial island in the South China Sea for the first time, raising the prospect that Beijing could base fighter jets there


On 17 April in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on April 17, 2019

1734: Birth of Taksin, king of Siam (Thailand) from December 1768 to April 1782, who was executed on 7 April 1782

1898: Francisco Makabulos establish the Makabulos Republic

1948: Elpidio Quirino becomes president of the Philippines, up to December 1954

1958: The occupation of Padang by the Indonesian forces starts the end to the Sumatra rebellion (secretly supported by CIA) which started on February 5

1975: Khmer Rouge capture Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia


2007: In Thailand, hundreds of monks demonstrate, demanding that Buddhism to be recognized as national religion in the coming new constitution

2008: After two months in Australia where he has been in hospital after to be wounded in a killing attempt, President Ramos-Horta comes back to East Timor

2014: Death in a car crash of Karpal Singh, Malaysian lawyer and politician, former chairman of opposition Democratic Action Party, born on June 28, 1940

On 16 April in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on April 16, 2019

1516: Birth of Tabinshwehti, King of Burma, who was killed on 30 April 1550

1899: Death of Emilio Jacinto, Filipino poet and revolutionary, born on December 15, 1875

1960: Birth of Wahab Akbar, Filipino politician, killed on 13 November 2007

1968: In Burma, Bo Zeya, commander-in-chief of the communist guerilla faction called « white flag » is killed during an military operation

1972: Prompted by the Nguyen Hue offensive, the United States resumes bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong

2001: In the Philippines, former president Joseph Estrada is officially charged for corruption but released on bail

2006: In the Philippines, President decides to commute 1,200 death sentences to life in jail. In fact no death sentence has been executed since 2000

2008: In Malaysia, the Makkal Osai Daily, a leading Tamil-language newspaper, critical to the government is banned

2009: Thaksin Shinawatra, the exiled Thailand prime minister, gets a Nicaraguan passport naming him an « ambassador on a special mission », saying he can help bring in investment


On 15 April in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on April 15, 2019

1549: Saint Francis Xavier leaves Goa to Malacca and Hong Kong

1847: Battle of Tourane (now Danang), 2 French warships sink the Annam (now Vietnam) fleet

1900: During the Philippine–American War, Filipino guerrillas launch a surprise attack on U.S. infantry and begin a four-day siege of Catubig, Philippines

1938: Birth of Hso Khan Pha, Burmese politician

1946: Vyner Brooke, White Rajah of Sarawak (Borneo) comes back from exile in Australia

1948: Death of Manuel Roxas, first president of the Philippines since May 28, 1946. Elpidio Quirino becomes president

1960: Visit of Chinese Prime Minister  Zhou Enlai to Burma, India and Nepal, up to 30 April

1962: Death of Arsenio Lacson, Filipino politician and sportswriter, born on December 26, 1911

1964: France refuses to vote the SEATO declaration on the defense of South Vietnam

1970: During the Cambodian Civil War, massacres of the Vietnamese minority results in 800 bodies flowing down the Mekong River into South Vietnam

1985: Birth of Diana Zubiri, Filipino actress

1992: The National Assembly of Vietnam adopts the 1992 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

1993: Death of Leslie Charteris, Singapore-born author, born on 12 May 1907

1998: Death of Pol Pot, Cambodian Khmer Rouge leader, born on 19 May 1925

2006: In Thailand, elections for the upper house. On the 200 senators, at least 106 are relative or members of the Thai Rak Thai

2012: In the second round of presidential election in East Timor, Taur Matan Ruak is elected with 61 % of the votes

On 14 April in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on April 14, 2019

1863: First Treaty of Hue between France and Annam. Three Vietnamese ports are opened (Tourane, Balat and Quang Yen). Missionary activity is permitted

1946: Dutch and Indonesian representatives begin talks at Hoge Veluwe in the Netherlands. The talks are unsuccessful

1960: Birth of Myoma Myint Kywe, Burmese historian and journalist

1965: As USA and Indonesia are deteriorating, Peace Corps volunteers begin their withdrawing

1975: The American airlift of Vietnamese orphans to the United States (Operation Babylift) ends after 2,600 children are transported to America

1976: In Cambodia, Khieu Samphan is nominated as president of the Democratic Kampuchea Presidium, replacing Prince Sihanouk who resigned on 5 April, with Pol Pot as the government leader

1979: Opening of Sino-Vietnamese negotiations in Hanoi (broken on 18)

1979: Birth of King Girado, Filipino singer

2002: In East Timor, in the first presidential election since independence, Xanana Gusmao is elected with 82,69 % of the votes

2008: Former vice-prime minister Anwar Ibrahim marks the end of his five-year ban to be involved in politics by a large gathering forbidden by police

2009: A Bangkok court issues arrest warrants for Thaksin Shinawatra, the exiled former prime minister of Thailand, and 13 of his supporters after violent demonstrations that left two people dead and scores injured. The anti-government « Red Shirts » called off their protests earlier on 14 April as the military tightened its grip on the city


On 13 April in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on April 13, 2019

548: Death of Ly Nam De, emperor of Vietnam, born on October 17, 503

Ly Nam de

1968: Birth of Jimmy Nah, Singapore actor and comedian who died on January 4, 2008

1972: Three North Vietnamese divisions attack An Loc, the capital of Binh Long Province 65 miles northwest of Saigon, taking half the city after a day of close combat

2007: In Singapore, the government bans a forum which purpose was to criticize the 80 % increase of its members making the politicians the most paid in the world


Holidays and observances

New Year festivals in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand

On 12 April in Southeast Asian history



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Updated on April 12, 2019

1852: In the Second Burmese war, Rangoon is occupied by the British

1852-04-12  Prise de Rangon

1895: Bonifacio first declaration of the Philippines independence inside a cave at Pamitinan

1912: Birth of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, second vice president of Indonesia, who died on 1st October 1988

1942: Japan kills about 400 Filipino officers during Bataan Death March

1942-04-12 Massacre officiers Philippins

1953: Viet Minh forces invade Laos. Laotian Government requests formal condemnation of Viet Minh aggression

1963: In the confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia, Indonesian volunteers (in fact regular soldiers) begin to infiltrate Sarawak and Sabah

Sarawak et Borneo map

1966: 1st B-52 bombing on North Vietnam

1973: Establishment of diplomatic relations between Paris and Hanoi

1975: In Cambodia, evacuation of the last Americans. France recognizes the National Union Government (Khmer Rouge and prince Sihanouk)

2001: In Indonesia, President Wahid authorizes the resumption of military operations against the separatists in Aceh

2010: Death of Palito, Filipino comedian, born on September 4, 1934

2016: Cambodian court charges opposition leader Um Sam An over criticism of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government border policy with Vietnam

2016: For the first time since the end of World War II, Japanese destroyers dropped anchor at a Vietnamese port, signifying the two nations’ defense cooperation