In the 1800’s the British named them the Pinnacle Islands.
1900 - named Senkaku Retto by Japan which means Pinnacle Islands
1879 - annexed as part of the Okinawa Prefecture (Japan)
1885 - Japanese governor appointed
1895 - Sino-Japanese War – the treaty ending that war it is argued gave control of those islands to Japan
The “Treaty of Shimonoseki” - 1895 ended above war (articles 2 and 3)
After WW2 the Islands with Okinawa came under USA control
1951 - Treaty of San Francisco – article 3 included the islands
1952 – Treaty of Peace between the Republic of China and Japan – article defers to the San Francisco Treaty in reference to items not provided for in the treat between Japan and China.
1969 – the UN indicated the possibility of large oil and gas reserves around the islands
1971 – Taiwan asserted claim, 6 months later China made same assertion
1972 – USA hands Okinawa and the Islands back to Japan. The operative word being “back” meaning the islands belonged to Japan.