Southern Asia 1907: Anglo-Russian Entente

While the British were in Tibet, their ally Japan was fighting Russia in northeast Asia. To prevent this war spreading, Britain signed the Entente Cordiale with Russia's ally, France. Japan's victory the following year substantially reduced the Russian threat, encouraging Britain to first restore Tibet to China and then, in 1907, resolve the Anglo-Russian rivalry in Central Asia by agreeing to divide Persia into spheres of influence.


British Protectorates in the Persian Gulf

The British Residency of the Persian Gulf maintains British India influence in a number of Gulf states. These states are nominally independent - and shown as such in most atlases from the period - but have all signed treaties guaranteeing British control over their foreign affairs.

The Sultanate of Muscat and Oman is 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 is the region to the west of Oman which collectively signed treaties with Britain. The sheikhdoms of this region are often called the Trucial States, and will become the United Arab Emirates. However at this time they have little unity, with no regional council until 1952.

Indian Empire

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

The area under direct British rule is 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, are the hundreds of protectorates or 'princely states'. These are indirectly ruled states, the largest being Hyderabad, Kashmir, and Mysore. The others are either collected into agencies - which may in turn contain other smaller agencies - or fall under the sway of the provinces.

Main Events

24 Apr 1906 Anglo-Chinese Convention

The Qing dynasty and the British Empire signed the Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting Tibet, reaffirming the Chinese possession of Tibet. The British agreed not to interfere in Tibet, while China confirmed that it would not permit any other foreign state to do so. This Convention succeeded the 1904 Treaty of Lhasa between Tibet and wikipedia

9 Sep–30 Dec 1906 Persian Constitution of 1906

Following the 1905 Russian Revolution, protests have spread across Persia demanding reforms. After delays and broken promises, Mozaffar ad-Din Shah finally grants Persia’s first constitution in September 1906. Partially based on the constitution of Belgium and other European states, it establishes an electoral system with a Majlis (Parliament) and wikipedia

30 Dec 1906 Founding of All-India Muslim League

In the aftermath of the Indian National Congress sponsored agitation over the 1905 partition of Bengal, the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference meeting at Shahbag in Dhaka agrees to form the All India Muslim League—the first Muslim political party in the history of wikipedia

8 Apr 1907 Anglo-French Agreement on Siam

Following the terms of the Entente Cordiale, the French Republic and the United Kingdom established spheres of influence in the Kingdom of Siam. The British recognized French influence to the east of the River Menam basin; in turn, the French recognized British influence to the west of the Menam basin. Both parties disclaimed any idea of annexing Siamese wikipedia

31 Aug 1907 Anglo-Russian Entente

In 1907 Britain and the Russian Empire signed the Anglo-Russian Entente in St Petersburg, clarifying their respective influences in south-central Asia. Persia was divided into spheres of influence, with a Russian sphere in the north, a British sphere in the southeast, and a neutral zone in-between. Afghanistan was recognized as under British influence and both countries agreed not to interfere in wikipedia