Mahjong pieces

Mahjong

Posted on January 16, 2015

From its invention in the late 1800s to its spread across the world and its current day popularity, mahjong has stood the test of time.

1220 A.D.
Dominos are invented in China during the Bei Song Dynasty.

1644 A.D.
In China, during the Qing Dynasty, the card game Ma Diao is invented.

Late 1800s
Dominos and Ma Diao lead to the birth of Mahjong that is credited as being introduced by Hung Hsiu-Ch’uan who leads a rebellion and declares himself as Emperor of Nanking where he is said to have introduced the game Ma Que in his court which is basically Mahjong. During this period, Ma Que becomes Ma Jiang or Mahjong.

1870/1880
Two brothers in Ningpo invent the game Ma-Tiao which is very similar to Mahjong.

1905
The game Mahjong begins its march across China.

1907
The game Mahjong lands in Japan.

1920
The game Mahjong has conquered all of China.

1922
Mahjong migrates to the U.S. with the help of Joseph P. Babcock, who hacks down the original Chinese game so it will be simpler to play. This helps the sale of the game briefly but Americans grow weary of the simple rules and begin to add their own, which leads to mass confusion in the Mah Jong community.

1923
Mahjong migrates to Britain with both Chinese and American versions played. The British, unlike the Americans, are aware that the Chinese version is the original. The Queens Club Rules is released and basically stays true to the Chinese version and may explain why Mahjong has a longer lifespan in Britain during this era.

1924
In the U.S. two new versions of Mahjong surface: “One Double” and “Clear Hand.” However, like Babcock’s simpler version, these two games were briefly popular but fade out, hurting the popularity of Mahjong in the U.S.

1935
Mahjong rises in the U.S. again thanks to The National Mahjong League Inc. publishing the new rules which really aren’t any different than the game of ten years ago.

1937
In Japan, Mahjong is banned during the Sino-Japanese War.

2006
The World Mahjong Organization is founded in Beijing, China.

Nov. 2007
The first Mahjong World Championship is held in Chengdu, China.

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