Southern Asia 1916: Arab Revolt

Britain's attempts to incite rebellion in its opponents' empires had been largely unsuccessful. Finally in 1916 they persuaded the Sharif of Mecca to revolt against his Ottoman overlords and declare the Kingdom of Hejaz. With British-supplied arms, the Sharif took control of the region, threatening to overthrow Ottoman rule in Arabia.


British Protectorates in the Persian Gulf

The British Residency of the Persian Gulf maintained British India's influence in a number of Gulf states from the 19th Century until 1947. These states were nominally independent - and shown as such in most atlases from the period - but all signed treaties guaranteeing British control over their foreign affairs.

The Sultanate of Muscat and Oman was the only one of these states with significant international relations, having obtained trade agreements with the US and France before it signed its treaty with Britain. Maps of the time often show Trucial Oman and even Qatar as regions of Oman.

Trucial Oman was the region to the west of Oman which collectively signed treaties with Britain. The sheikhdoms of this region were often called the Trucial States, and later became the United Arab Emirates. However at this time they had little unity, with no regional council until 1952.

Indian Empire

The British Indian Empire, also known as the British Raj, was comprised of a complex of presidencies, provinces, protectorates, and agencies. Only the top level subdivisions are shown here.

The area under direct British rule was known as British India and made up of presidencies and provinces - a presidency simply being the name for an older province.

Outside British India, but often included within the sphere of the presidencies/provinces, were the hundreds of protectorates or 'princely states'. These were indirectly ruled states, the largest being Hyderabad, Kashmir, and Mysore. The others were either collected into agencies - which might in turn contain other smaller agencies - or fell under the sway of the provinces.

Main Events

31 May–10 Aug 1916 Ottoman Persian Offensive

Ottoman forces led by Ali Ihsan Pasha expel the Russians from Mesopotamia and invade Persia near Khanaqin, capturing Kermanshah and Hamadan. The outnumbered Russian defenders under Baratov retreat through the Sultan-bulak Pass, but by this point the Ottoman troops are at the end of their supply lines and Ihsan is content to hold, viewing his orders to march on Afghanistan as wikipedia

6 Jun 1916 Death of Yuan Shikai

The Chinese President Yuan Shikai died from uremia at the age of fifty-six. His last months had been marred by calls for his resignation, with rebellions erupting across China against his regime. Now, with his death, China had little remaining central authority and would soon descend into wikipedia

10 Jun–4 Jul 1916 Battle of Mecca

Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca and leader of the Banu Hashim clan, declared independence from the Ottoman Empire, bringing Mecca into revolt. Ottoman resistance in Mecca lasted until July 4, when Jirwal barracks capitulated to British-supplied wikipedia

25 Jun–30 Nov 1916 Central Asian Revolt

Kazakhs and other Central Asian peoples revolt in Russian Turkestan, responding to the Tsarist government of the Russian Empire ending its exemption of Muslims from military service. The revolt is ultimately crushed by the wikipedia