Vladivostok and the surrounding coastline has developed an intriguing history in that it has been occupied by both China and Russia for significant periods of time, leading to an interesting blending of cultures.
Native culture, Shamanism and tribes: ? - 926
The site of Vladivostok has been frequented by a variety of tribes spanning centuries including the Udege, Nanai, Taz (a sub-culture of intermarriage between the two tribes) and Mohe, some of which still exist today. These tribes mainly engaged in hunting, fishing and the harvesting of Ginseng while tribe leaders indoctrinated shamanism and animism as the accepted religions.
Chinese dynastic rule: 926 - 1860
The successful conquest of the Balhae people (who occupied much of the area around present day Vladivostok), by the Liao dynasty ushered in the beginning of over 900 years of Chinese occupation through successive dynasties including the Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing to name a few. Vladivostok has been known by the Chinese since the Qing dynasty as Haishenwai.
The city in turmoil: 1860 - 1991
In 1860, China handed control of the region and Sakhalin Island over to the Russians as part of the Treaty of Beijing due to China's inability to defend the region after their loss in the Opium Wars with Britain. The same year, Alexey K. Shefner, Captain of the military supply ship Manchur, called at Golden Horn Bay and founded the site of Vladivostok. The Manza War in 1868, saw the first attempt by the Russians to expel the Chinese from the territory which resulted in retaliation by the Chinese who attacked two Russian military bases and several Russian towns around the area. Fortifications were erected in Vladivostok in the 1870's and 1890's in response.
1916 saw the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway which connected Moscow to the city. Shortly after its completion, civil war broke out in Russia, with the Bolsheviks taking control of the Railway system. In response, the rebels were overthrown and the city became a staging point for Allied intervention consisting of Japan, United States and China.The Allied army collapsed in 1919 and the city was taken back by The Red Army in 1922. As the main naval base of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, the city was officially closed off to tourists during the Soviet years.