Russian and Japanese rivalry over mineral-rich Manchuria erupted into war in February 1904, when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the Russian fleet, lying at anchor in Port Arthur, in northern China.
The Russians sent their Baltic fleet to teach the Japanese "monkeys" as they called them, a lesson. The fleet took seven months to reach the China Sea but was ambushed by the Japanese navy and annihilated in a single day. The victory heralded Japan's emergence as an Asian power.
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