Southern Asia 1912: Tibetan Independence

The collapse of the Chinese Empire allowed Tibet to expel its Chinese garrison and declare independence. When the new Republic of China attempted to reclaim the Himalayan kingdom, it was warned off by the British, who, while not formally recognizing Tibetan independence, would not allow the restoration of Chinese control.


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

10 Mar 1912 Yuan Shikai becomes President

Yuan Shikai, commander of the Beiyang Army, was inaugurated as provisional president of the Republic of China, replacing Sun Yatsen. This action was a compromise to avoid civil war in the wake of the Xinhai Revolution, as Sun Yatsen’s Kuomintang only controlled southern China and they needed Yuan’s support to end the Qing Dynasty. It led to the capital of the Republic being moved from the Kuomintang power center of Nanjing to the old imperial capital of Beijing where Yuan wikipedia

1 Apr 1912 Reunification of Bengal

In response to Indian protests against the partition of Bengal, the British government of the Indian Empire reorganizes western Bengal Province and Eastern Bengal and Assam Province. The new partition is implemented to divide the region on linguistic rather than religious grounds, creating three new provinces: a reunited Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, and wikipedia

4 Apr 1912 Tibetan Independence

After the disintegration of Qing power in Lhasa in the wake of the Chinese Revolution of 1911-1912, the Kingdom of Tibet declared its independence from the newly formed Republic of wikipedia

27 Apr–19 May 1912 Italian invasion of the Dodecanese

In late April 1912 forces of the Kingdom of Italy began landing in the Dodecanese Islands, part of the Ottoman Empire. The main battle took place on Rhodes, where around 10,000 Italian troops landed on 4 May, forcing the surrender of the Ottoman garrison on 16 May and ending 390 years of Ottoman wikipedia

17 Aug 1912 British note on Tibet

Britain sent a note to Yuan Shikai, President of the newly formed Republic of China, warning against Chinese military intervention in Tibet. The British terms were that they would recognize the Republic of China and accept Chinese suzerainty over Tibet if Yuan repudiated all claims that Tibet was an integral part of China and agreed not to station troops wikipedia