The History Thread Explores (and Plots a Coup)!

Welcome to this week’s History Thread! Our subject this week will be explorers, exploration and their impact. I finally read Charles C. Mann’s 1493 after much prodding from this site’s users, and it seems like a good springboard to discuss how exploration, whether by European explorers or other, non-Western cultures (Phoenicians, Chinese, etc.), and how it impacted civilization, culture and nature around the world.

Today’s picture: On February 26, 1936 a group of hard-line officers in the Japanese Army, seeking to increase imperial authority over the civilian government, attempted to stage a coup in Tokyo. The so-called February 26th Incident resulted in the seizure of several government buildings and the assassinations of two former Prime Ministers, Takahashi Korekiyo and Saitō Makoto, and an attack on the Imperial Palace. However, sitting Prime Minister Keisuke Okada escaped unharmed, Emperor Hirohito rebuked the mutineers, and enough soldiers and police stayed loyal to suppress the revolt. Though nineteen leaders of the coup were hanged, the incident increased the military’s influence over Japan’s government, leading to intensification of its imperial activities in China and the Pacific.