Port Arthur

Photograph of Soviet troops at Port Arthur, August 1945
Wikipedia Commons

Port Arthur (Lushunkou; 121.238E 38.795N) is located at the tip of the Kwantung Peninsula, from which naval forces from Ryojun Guard District were able to dominate the Yellow Sea.  However, the Yellow Sea was a Japanese lake by 1941, reducing the military importance of the port.  With its excellent port facilities, protected by a heavy artillery fortress regiment, it remained important for merchant ships carrying goods to and from Manchuria, to which it had good rail connections.

Originally the location of a small fishing village, the port acquired its name from British Royal Navy Lieutenant William Arthur (who was also His Royal Highness, Duke of Connaught) during the Franco-British expedition against Peking in 1860. The port was developed into a naval base by the Russians, who had pressured the Chinese into granting them a lease on the Kwantung Peninsula in 1898, and the port rapidly grew into a town of 60,000 soldiers and sailors and 56,000 civilians of many nationalities. These included a force of Sikhs to guard the warehouses and some 700 Japanese businessmen and their families. The Old City was mostly inhabited by Chinese, while the new district two miles to the northwest has been compared to San Francisco during the gold rush, with its modern construction, numerous hotels and cabarets, and abundance of both licit and illicit entertainment.

The port was captured by the Japanese after a long and bloody siege in November 1904, and the Japanese took over the Russian lease on the Kwantung Peninsula under the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth of 1905. The Russians regained control of the port following the Japanese surrender in August 1945 and did not return it to the Chinese until 1953.


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Rail connections



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