the following are my understanding of the history of Spratly islands...I am a CHinese.. 1. Before colony era, those small islands were not owned by anyone.... of course,CHinese should be the first nation that found them, after all CHina was the oldest and most-devleoped civilizaiton in the area,before west nations conolized southeast Asia. 2. Before 1930s, there were controlled by France,but China(Manchuria Qing Empire and Republic of China) also claimed them The Philippines\Mylasia\brunei all didn't claimed any of those small islands 3. During 1930s-1945,Japanese conquered coastal CHina and French IndoChina,and controlled those islands. But Republic of China still claimed those small islands. The Philippines\Mylasia\brunei were not indpendent yet, but their suzerains say UK ,USA and Dutchland still didn't claimed any of those small islands 4. In 1945,as the main winner of WWII, CHina (republic of CHina) took over those small islands from Japanese ,as the fruit of WWII. China realized its actual controll of those small islands at that time. The Philippines\Mylasia\brunei were not indpendent yet,but their suzerains say UK ,France ,USA and Dutchland all accepted China's claim with tacit understanding and looked on it as the final of WW II. In fact, it was with the help of USA that CHina took over those small island from Japan in 1945. 5. During 1950-1970s, CHinese gradually retreated and lost actual control of some islands ,and South Vietnam took over some of them. After 1950, Republic of China(ROC) retreated its troops from most of those small islands,except the larest island -Taiping island,because ROC failed in Chinese civil war and had to concentrated its force to defend Taiwan,although ROC never gave up its claim of those small islands. PRC(People's Republic of CHina) won Chinese civil war(1946-1949),but its navy was still weak and could not control those small islands,althought PRC succeeds Chinese historic claim of Spratly Islands. South Vietnam got independent in1950s and claimed those small islands, according to France actual control of them before 1930s. S.Vietnam succeeded in tooking over some of those small islands ,after ROC retreated. North Vietnam dared not offend PRC,its main supportor and admitted PRC's claim with tacit understanding. The Philippines\Mylasia\brunei still did not claim of those small islands. 6. After 1970s, 5 guys(Vietnam\The Philippines\PRC\Mylasia\brunei) have been taking over islands ,which were controlled and claimed by ROC(Taiwan). it was after 1970s that The Philippines\Mylasia\brunei started to claim of those small island,as the last claimers. PRC took over some of islands gave up by ROC . 7.Status quo Vietnam occupys much more islands than anyone else,but it is not satisfied,because many of its claimed islands are still out of control. The Philippines\Mylasia\brunei succeed in taking over the island they claim and are satisfied. ROC(taiwan) manages to keep its sole island and in fact has given up taking back its lost islands. PRC controls much less islands than It claims,so PRC is not safisfied ,either. 8. New development: The Philippines' Rejecting Chinese fishmen VS China's reclamation of islands. Before Aquino III arrested/drove/shooted at Chiense fishmen in 2013 or so, Chinese fishmen were usually also allowed to fish around Philip-controlled disputed islands. And PRC kept a blind eyes on Vietnam/The Philippines reclamation of the disputed islands,except useless protests. however, status quo was broken by The Philippines's driving off Chinese fishmen around Scarborough shoal. Such a driving caused CHina's tough reaction---China's massive reclamation of islands in South China sea and it has changed the power-balance here forever in short time.