Southern Asia 1918: Breakup of Transcaucasia

Political map of South & Southwest Asia on 26 May 1918 (The Fall of the Ottoman Empire: Breakup of Transcaucasia), showing the following events: March Days; Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic; Revolt of the Czechoslovak Legion; Independence of Georgia.

Soon after Brest-Litovsk, Transcaucasia declared independence but its collapse was already underway. In April, communists took control in Baku in the east just as the Ottomans were reaching the Transcaucasian border in the west. The following month, the Ottomans invaded Armenia. With Transcaucasia facing increasing internal disunity and external invasion, Georgia declared independence on the 26th, followed by Armenia and Azerbaijan two days later.


Changes to the map 3 March 1918–26 May 1918

The Ottoman Empire has now liberated all of eastern Anatolia from Transcaucasian control and invaded Armenia. Despite the Ottomans reaching the outskirts of Yerevan, Armenian resistance has been strong and saved their nation from disaster.

The newly declared Democratic Federative Republic of Transcaucasia is in collapse, with Georgia already proclaiming its independence and Armenia and Azerbaijan only two days behind. In Baku, the government has been overthrown by pro-Bolsheviks and the Baku Commune formed. In the northwest, the Bolsheviks have invaded and seized Sokhumi.

The peoples of the northern Caucasus have declared their own state - the Mountainous Republic. Elsewhere, Soviet Russia and the Baku Commune have asserted their control - retaking the Caspian towns of Petrovsk and Derbent.

In Mesopotamia, the British have advanced on Kirkuk.

More British forces - the North Persia Force - have entered northern Persia in the wake of Dunsterville's first expedition and pacified the region around Hamadan. The British have also demolished forts to the east of Shiraz, ending the insurgency there.

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

30 Mar–2 Apr 1918 March Days

A political power struggle in Baku, Transcaucasia, between Bolsheviks and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation on one side and the Azerbaijani Musavat Party on the other breaks out into open conflict after the Baku Soviet attempts to crack down on former soldiers of the disbanded anti-Bolshevik Savage Division. After several days fighting and inter-ethnic massacres, the pro-Bolsheviks prevail and establish their rule in wikipedia

22 Apr 1918 Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic

The Transcaucasian Parliament—convoked in Tiflis on 23 February—declares the independence of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic from Russia, with Nikolay Chkheidze as wikipedia

25 May 1918 Revolt of the Czechoslovak Legion

Forces of the Czechoslovak Legion—a volunteer force of Czechs and Slovaks fighting on the Allied side—clashed with the Bolsheviks at several points along the Trans-Siberian Railway after attempts to evacuate the Legion from now-neutral Soviet Russia stalled. By June, the Czechoslovaks had seized much of the railway between Penza and Krasnoyarsk, gaining control of the entire length of the railway by September. The revolt signaled the start of the Russian Civil War, as the Czechoslovaks brought anti-Bolshevik factions to power across wikipedia

26 May 1918 Independence of Georgia

The Democratic Republic of Georgia declares independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. It will be followed two days later by the Democratic Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Democratic wikipedia