On this day: the assassination of Durham Stevens

DurhamWhiteStevensAmerican diplomat Durham Stevens was attacked by Korean independence activists Jang In-hwan and Jeon Myeong-un on the 23rd of March, 1908. He died two days later. 1903 Photograp.

Durham Stevens in 1903 X

American diplomat Durham Stevens was attacked by Korean independence activists Jang In-hwan and Jeon Myeong-un on the 23rd of March, 1908. He died two days later.

A picture of Jang In-hwan, assassin of Durham Stevens, taken while the subject was living in the United States. 1907A picture of Jeon Myeong-un, assassin of Durham Stevens, taken while the subject was living in the United States. 1907.

Jang In-hwan and Jeon Myeong-un, both photographed in 1907.

Both Korean men had moved to the United States, and the attack took place at the Fairmont San Francisco.

Stevens, who had been employed by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had spoken out in favour of Japanese influence in Korea, and Japan’s annexation of the Korean peninsula.

1907 view of the Fairmont Hotel from Powell Street San Francisco

The Fairmont San Francisco in 1907 X

Japan’s annexation and occupation of Korea was complete two years after Stevens’ death.

Stevens is remembered by Koreans as a traitor to their sovereignty, though at the time of his assassination many spoke out in his favour.