The Younger Dryas (YD), arguably the most widely studied millennial-scale extreme climate event, was characterized by diverse hydroclimate shifts globally and severe cooling at high northern latitudes that abruptly punctuated the warming trend from the last glacial to the present interglacial. To date, a precise understanding of its trigger, propagation, and termination remains elusive. Here, we present speleothem oxygen-isotope data that, in concert with other proxy records, allow us to quantify the timing of the YD onset and termination at an unprecedented subcentennial temporal precision across the North Atlantic, Asian Monsoon-Westerlies, and South American Monsoon regions. Our analysis suggests that the onsets of YD in the North Atlantic (12,870 ± 30 B.P.) and the Asian Monsoon-Westerlies region are essentially synchronous within a few decades and lead the onset in Antarctica, implying a north-to-south climate signal propagation via both atmospheric (decadal-time scale) and oceanic (centennial-time scale) processes, similar to the Dansgaard-Oeschger events during the last glacial period. In contrast, the YD termination may have started first in Antarctica at ∼11,900 B.P., or perhaps even earlier in the western tropical Pacific, followed by the North Atlantic between ∼11,700 ± 40 and 11,610 ± 40 B.P. These observations suggest that the initial YD termination might have originated in the Southern Hemisphere and/or the tropical Pacific, indicating a Southern Hemisphere/tropics to North Atlantic-Asian Monsoon-Westerlies directionality of climatic recovery.