Category Archives: On this day in SEA history

On 26 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 26, 2017

1965: The first contingent of South Korean troops arrives in Saigon

1966: The ROK Capital Division of the South Korean Army massacres 380 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam

1968: Allied troops who had recaptured the imperial capital of Hue from the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive discover the first mass graves in Hue

1973: Opening at Paris of the International Conference on Vietnam

1979: Birth of Ngo Thanh Van, Vietnamese dancer, singer, actress and model

2010: Thailand’s top court finds Thaksin Shinawatra guilty of corruption and rules that 1.4 billion dollars of his fortune, estimated at 2.3 billion, would be seized

On 25 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 25, 2017

1605: Portuguese garrison on Ambon (Now in Indonesia) surrenders to Admiral Van der Haghen

1677: The Dutch East India Company (VOC) makes a treaty with Amangkurat I: VOC will help Mataram, VOC territory around Batavia will be extended eastward, VOC may establish a factory anywhere they like without any restrictions on exports or imports

1885: Birth of Sylvia Brett, Lady Brooke, Ranee of Sarawak who died on November 11, 1971

1943: Vietminh forms Indochinese Democratic Front

1964: Death of Mariano Jesus Cuenco, a Filipino Cebuano politician and writer, born on January 16, 1888

1965: Birth of Maricel Soriano, Filipina actress

1968: During the Vietnam War, 135 unarmed citizens of Ha My village in South Vietnam’s Qu?ng Nam Province are killed and buried in mass by South Korean troops in what would come to be known as the Ha My massacre

1982: Ven. Thich Quang Do and Thich Huyen Quang, the two most prominent figures of the « recalcitrant opposition UBCV. » are arrested and exiled to separate locations

1986: Ferninand Marcos flees to Hawaii. Cory Aquino sworn in as president of the Philippines up to June 1992

1993: Death of Mary Walter, Filipino actress, born on September 10, 1912

1996: Death of Haing S. Ngor, Cambodian-born actor, born on March 22, 1940

2008: The 22nd anniversary of the People Power movement turns into anti-Arroyo demonstrations demanding her resignation

2012: Thailand’s parliament votes to pave the way for a rewrite of the military-backed 2007 constitution. After a two-day debate, both houses voted to permit a redrafting of the charter written after the September 2006 coup toppled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra


Holidays and observances

Philippines People Power Day

On 24 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 24, 2017

1767: Birth of Buddha Loetla Nabhalai (Rama II), Thai king who died on July 21, 1824

1826: The signing of the Treaty of Yandaboo marks the end of the First Burmese War

1861: Battle of Ky Hoa (24 and 25 February), important French victory in the Cochinchina campaign (1858–62). The war concluded with the establishment of the French colony of Cochinchina

1888: Birth of Filipino General Vicente Lim, executed by the Japanese on December 31, 1944

1944: Maj. Gen. Frank Merrill’s guerrilla force, nicknamed « Merrill’s Marauders, » begin a campaign in northern Burma

1950: An American mission in Indochina is set up

1962: Beijing warns that U.S. military action in South Vietnam is « a direct threat » to North Vietnam, and therefore « seriously affects the security of China and the peace of Asia”

1962: General mobilization in Indonesia over New-Guinea

1968: During the Vietnam War, the Tet Offensive is halted as South Vietnam forces recapture Hué

1998: Khamtay Siphandone is elected President of Laos (up to 2006)

2006: Afraid of a possible coup d’état on the 20th anniversary of the fall of Ferdinand Marcos, President  M. G. Arroyo proclaims the state of emergency. Around 15 officers are arrested on complot charge

2011: French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde starts a two-day visit to Indonesia, the first by a French minister since 1997 when authoritarian ruler Suharto was in power

2015: Thailand’s anti-graft agency indicts 250 former lawmakers, a member of the body said, in a ruling that will further erode the influence of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra

On 23 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 23, 2017

1852: Birth of Dục Đức, Vietnamese emperor during three days and who was executed on October 6, 1883

1883 Duc Duc

1885: During the Sino-French War, French Army captures Dong Dang

1923: Birth of General Nguyen Chanh Thi, who died on June 23, 2007

Nguyen Chanh Thi

1945: US Forces, under general Mac Arthur, enter in Manila (Philippines), starting a devastating intramurros battle

1945: The 11th Airborne Division, with Filipino guerrillas, free the captives of the Los Baños internment camp

1952: The cabinet of Premier Sukiman Wirjosandjojo resigns in protest against the Indonesian foreign minister secretly accepted Mutual Security Aid offer from the United States

1955: Conference of Bangkok establishing the South East AsiaTreaty Organization (Seato)

1976: First summit of the five heads of state or of government of Asean countries in Bali

1991: In Thailand, General Sunthorn Kongsompong leads a bloodless coup d’état, deposing Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan

Sunthorn Kongsompong

2012: Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has pleaded not guilty to an electoral fraud charge at the opening of a landmark trial


Holidays and observances

National Day of Brunei

On 22 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 22, 2017

1899: Filipino forces led by General Antonio Luna launch counterattacks for the first time against the American forces during the Philippine–American War. The Filipinos fail to regain Manila from the Americans

1942: President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders general Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines as American defense collapses

1945: British troops take Ramree Island, Burma

1950: Indonesian forces defeat the guerrilla movement, Darum Islam, running the Muslim forces from West Java

1955: Representatives of the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, Dan Xa, Lien Minh and Binh Xuyen confessional forces (sects) meet at Tay Ninh and agree to form a « United Front » against Vietnam’s Catholic Prime Minister Diem

1957: An assailant fires a shot at President Diem as he arrives on foot for the inauguration of the Ban Me Thuot Economic Fair. The shot misses Diem but seriously wounds the Secretary of Agrarian Reform

Ngo Dinh Diem

1958: Indonesian air force bombs Padang, Sumatra and Menado, Celebes

1967: In Indonesia, Suharto takes full power

1967: 25,000 US and South Vietnamese troops launche Operation Junction City, offensive to smash Viet Cong stronghold near Cambodian border

1971: Birth of Lea Salonga, Filipina actress and singer

1985: Opening of the trial of general Fabian Ver, chief the Philippine armed forces, and of 24 servicemen accused of the murder of the opposition leader Begnino Aquino (verdict on 2 December)

1986: In the Philippines, the People Power Revolution is triggered after two key Marcos allies, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces Vice-Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos called on Marcos to resign and holed up in two military camps in Quezon City

1989: Death of Moisés da Costa Amaral, East Timorese leader, president of the Timorese Democratic Union, born on May 19, 1938

Moises da Costa Amaral

2005: During negotiations at Helsinski, Aceh rebels renounce to their independence claim for the province

2008: United Nations extends East Timor mission for one year

2009: Death of Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, archbishop of Hanoi, born on June 15, 1919

2011: Thailand and Cambodia agree to accept Indonesian observers and avoid further clashes over a border dispute that has claimed at least 10 lives and displaced thousands.

2015: In Malaysia, police arrest PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad for joining a rally in support of jailed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that saw two activists detained

On 21 February in Southeast Asian history

1973 Paris-Peace negot


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Updated on February 21, 2017

1853: Birth of Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Filipino painter who died on March 13, 1913

Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo

1949: In Indonesia, Tan Malaka, nationalist and communist leader, is captured and executed by a TNI commander after a Dutch contingent attacks the town where he was staying

1957: Sukarno formally proposes « guided democracy » in a speech

1965: In South Vietnam, the Armed Forces Council dismissed General Khanh as chairman and as commander of the armed forces. General Lam Van Phat replaces him. The next day, Khanh announces that he had accepted the council’s decision, after which he was appointed a « roving ambassador, » assigned first to go to the United Nations

1970: Communist Pathet Lao guerilla seizes  Xieng Khuang and Muong Suy in central Laos

1970: Kissinger begins secret talks with North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho

1973 Paris-Peace negot

1973: A ceasefire is signed for Laos

2007: According to a United Nations representative investigating on 887 political killings in the Philippines, the military is involved in the killing of 356 leftist personalities

2010: Albader Parad, one of the Philippines’s most wanted Abu Sayyaf leaders, is killed in fighting with the military in the country’s south

2015: Indonesia recalls its new ambassador to Brazil after the South American country postponed a ceremony sealing his appointment, Jakarta said on Saturday, amid a row over the execution of a Brazilian national for drugs trafficking

On 20 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 20, 2017

1862: Death of Francisco Balagtas, Filipino poet, born on April 2, 1788

1932: Birth of Adrian E Cristobal, Filipino writer who died on December 22, 2007

1941: Birth of Lim Kit Siang, Malaysian lawyer and politician, chairman of the Democratic Action Party

1942: Japanese troop land on Timor

1947: Ho Chi Minh sends a letter – via the British Consul – to the French President appealing for peace. He writes « …we want our unity and our independence within the French Union; we want, a just peace which will do honor both to France and to Vietnam »

1976: The South-East Association Treaty Organization (SEATO) is disbanded


On 19 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 19, 2017

1886: Birth of Jose Abad Santos, Philippine national hero, executed by the Japanese on May 2, 1942

1888: Birth of Aurora Quezon, First Lady of the Philippines, who died on August 1, 1949

1945: 980 Japanese soldiers reportedly killed by crocodiles in 2 days on Ramree Island, Burma

1948: The Conference of Youth and Students of Southeast Asia Fighting for Freedom and Independence convenes in Calcutta

1952: French offensive at Hanoi

1955: South-East Asia collective Defense Treaty (SEATO), signed in September 1954,  goes into effects

1965: Dissident officers move several battalions of troops into Saigon on this day with the intention of ousting Gen. Nguyen Khanh from leadership. General Khanh escaped to Dalat with the aid of Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky

1983: Birth of Assunta De Rossi, Italo-Filipino actress

1989: Second informal Jakarta meeting between all the Cambodian factions

1993: Birth of Empress Schuck, Filipina actress

2001: General Tin Oo, number four in the Burmese military junta is killed in an helicopter crash


On 18 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 18, 2017

1745: The city of Surakarta, Central Java is founded on the banks of Bengawan Solo river, and becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Surakarta

1853: Burmese king Pagan Min is forced to abdicate in favor of his half-brother Mindon Min

1857: Insurrection of Chinese in Sarawak, Borneo

1902: During the Philippines-USA War, the Last Holdouts, General Vicente Lukban falls

1930: Ho Chi Minh and those who gathered since the formation of the Communist Party of Vietnam hold their first party platform in Hong Kong

1942: The Imperial Japanese Army begins the systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore

1947: During the First Indochina War, the French gain complete control of Hanoi after forcing the Viet Minh to withdraw to mountains

1948: Burma and Soviet Union establish diplomatic relations

1967: Birth of Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, Thai director, producer, and screenwriter

Yongyoot Thongkongtoon

1979: Signature of a treaty of peace, amity and cooperation between Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea

1979: The Soviet Union warns China to stop its war against Vietnam before it could be too late

1981, Lorenzo Ruiz is beatified by Pope John Paul II, first Filipino Saint. Born on November 28, 1594, executed in Japan on September 29, 1637

2001: Inter-ethnic violence between Dayaks and Madurese breaks out in Sampit, Indonesia, that will ultimately result in more than 500 deaths and 100,000 Madurese displaced from their homes

2010: Myanmar jails Buddhist abbot Gaw Thita for seven years

On 17 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 17, 2017

1859: French Admiral Rigault de Genouilly takes the city of Saigon, starting the conquest of Cochinchina

1872: Execution of Filipino Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Apolonio Burgos and Jacinto Zamora leading impetus to fight for freedom

1897: In Philippine, first Battle of Zapote Bridge won on the Spanish

1934: Birth of Khun Sa, Burman king of drug, who died on October 26, 2007

1961: Birth of Panna Rittikrai, Thai actor, director, and stuntman who died on July 20 2014

1974: Birth of Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah, Crown prince of Brunei

1979: In response to Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, China launches a several-week attack in northern Vietnam


1985: Birth of Anne Curtis, Filipino actress and commercial model

2001: Thailand king installs a new government led by Thaksin Shinawatra whose party, the Thai Rak Thai having 17 of 22 ministries

2006: A massive mudslide occurs in Southern Leyte, Philippines; the official death toll is set at 1,126

2009: The long-awaited UN-backed trial of former Khmer Rouge leader in Cambodia Kaing Guek Eav – better known as Duch opens at a Phnom Penh court, 30 years after the murderous regime fell. He was head of a notorious prison camp and is accused of presiding over the murder and torture of at least 15,000 inmates

2015: Myanmar declares a state of emergency in a conflict-torn border region, where ferocious fighting between the army and ethnic rebels has sent thousands fleeing airstrikes and fierce gun battles