Southern Asia 1936: Second Italo-Ethiopian War

Political map of South & Southwest Asia on 05 May 1936 (Arrival of the New Order: Second Italo-Ethiopian War), showing the following events: Persia becomes Iran; Hamza Line; Government of India Act; Outbreak of Second Italo-Ethiopian War; Provincehood of Bihar, Orissa & Sind; March of the Iron Will.

Following the League of Nations failure to halt Italian aggression in the Abyssinia Crisis, Italy launched a full-scale invasion of Ethiopia. Despite Ethiopian resistance, the Italians captured Addis Ababa in May 1935, annexing Ethiopia to their East African empire.


Changes to the map 23 February 1935–5 May 1936

Second Italo-Ethiopian War: Italy has invaded Ethiopia from Eritrea and Somalia, capturing Addis Ababa.

Arabia: Saudi Arabia has claimed the Rub' al-Khali, rejecting the British claims dating from the Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913-1914. In response, the British have reduced their claim.

Central China: The Nationalist government has used its campaign against the Communists, undertaking their Long March, to spread its influence into Sichuan and Yunnan.

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

21 Mar 1935 Persia becomes Iran

As per the Persian Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ request of 25 December 1934, the terms “Iran” and “Iranian” officially replace the words “Persia” and “Persian”. Both names have an ancient history, but up to this date “Iran” has been preferred internally whereas “Persia” has been used wikipedia

3 Apr 1935 Hamza Line

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia claimed the Rub’ al Khali (the Empty Quarter), with King Ibn Saud declaring a frontier—the Hamza line—which extended deep into the claimed territories of the British-protected states of Trucial Oman, Muscat and Oman, and Aden. In response, the British Minister to Saudi Arabia, Sir Andrew Ryan, suggested a compromise frontier—the Riyadh line—on 25 November 1935, but the dispute remained wikipedia

2 Aug 1935 Government of India Act

The Parliament of the United Kingdom approves the Government of India Act, which includes the recommendations of the Round Table conferences. When it comes into effect on 1 April 1937, the Act will transform the governmental system of British India, ending the dyarchy introduced by the Government of India Act 1919, introducing direct elections, and separating Burma and Aden from wikipedia

3 Oct 1935 Outbreak of Second Italo-Ethiopian War

At 5:00 am on 3 October 1935 Italian troops under General Emilio de Bono crossed the Mareb River from Eritrea into Ethiopia. On the same day, Italian forces in Somalia began a series of attacks across the Ogaden into southern and eastern Ethiopia. In response to these undeclared Italian invasions, Ethiopia declared war on wikipedia

1 Apr 1936 Provincehood of Bihar, Orissa & Sind

Following the Government of India Act 1935, the British Indian province of Bihar and Orissa is bifurcated into the two provinces of Bihar and Orissa. At the same time, Sind is separated from the Bombay Presidency to become its own wikipedia

26 Apr–5 May 1936 March of the Iron Will

An Italian mechanized column under Marshal of Italy Pietro Badoglio advanced from Dessie to capture Addis Ababa, capital of the Ethiopian Empire. The march was largely unopposed as the Imperial Ethiopian Army had by this point been severely weakened by bombing and poison gas attacks, with the last major Ethiopian counterattack being defeated at Maychew on 31 March. Unable to defend the capital, Emperor Haile Selassie fled into exile on 2 May, three days before the Italians wikipedia