Southern Asia 1948: End of Mandatory Palestine
The British Mandate of Palestine had become increasingly unstable since the 1930s, facing first Arab and then Jewish insurgencies against British rule. In 1947 the United Nations suggested the partition of Palestine into separate independent Arab and Jewish states, prompting a civil war to break out between the Arabs and the Jews. The Jews were victorious by the following year, declaring an independent State of Israel to coincide with the British withdrawal.
30 Jan 1948 Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi▲
Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi, renowned as Mahatma Gandhi, was shot three times in the chest at point-blank range by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, in the garden of the Birla House in New Delhi. Gandhi had been on the way to a prayer meeting accompanied by his nieces and died soon after. His death was mourned nationwide, with over two million people joining the five hour long funeral procession.
4 Feb 1948 Independence of Ceylon▲
On 4 February 1948, the British Colony of Ceylon gained independence as the Dominion of Ceylon, in accordance with the Ceylon Independence Act 1947. However military treaties with the United Kingdom maintained British air and sea bases in the country and British officers still held most of the upper ranks of the Army. These treaties were ended in 1949, after they prompted the Soviet Union to veto Ceylon’s application to join the United Nations.
17–31 Mar 1948 Baluchistan Assembly▲
In 1947, when India was partitioned, the Khanate of Kalat had opted for independence. In March 1948, the Pakistani government persuaded the Khanate and the other remaining princely states in Baluchistan to accede to Pakistan.
14 May 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence▲
David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The declaration became effective upon the termination of the British Mandate over Palestine at midnight.
15 May 1948 End of Mandatory Palestine▲
After evacuating Jerusalem on 14 May, British forces remaining in Palestine, including High Commissioner Alan Cunningham, withdrew via Haifa. On 15 May the Palestine Mandate ended, leaving the country divided between the newly declared State of Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
15 May 1948 Outbreak of Arab-Israeli War▲
Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia—the major states of the Arab League—declared war on the newly declared State of Israel. That same day, the Egyptian, Syrian, Transjordanian, Lebanese, and Iraqi invasion of Israel on behalf of Palestine began.