Southern Asia 1918: German Caucasus Expedition

Political map of South & Southwest Asia on 10 Jun 1918 (The Fall of the Ottoman Empire: German Caucasus Expedition), showing the following events: Treaty of Poti; End of Transcaucasian Federation; German Caucasus Expedition; Treaty of Batum.

The collapse of the Transcaucasian Federation in the face of Ottoman invasion encouraged newly independent Georgia to seek German protection. Unwilling to see the Ottomans gain complete control of Transcaucasia, including the rich Baku oil fields, the Germans readily agreed. In early June they landed troops in Georgia, quickly taking charge across the country.


Changes to the map 26 May 1918–10 June 1918

Under threat from the Ottomans, Georgia has requested German protection. As much of the important Baku-Batum oil pipeline runs through Georgia, the Germans have eagerly obliged, landing forces at Poti and advancing on Tiflis (Tbilisi). This move has caused tensions with the Ottomans, who are refusing to halt their own invasion of Georgia - at the time of this map, the Ottomans are defeating a German-Georgian force at Vorontsovka on the Armenian-Georgian border. However in reality the Ottomans cannot afford to lose German support and will back down in July.

The Treaty of Batum has ceded much territory from Georgia and Armenia to the Ottoman Empire and effectively extended Ottoman influence over Azerbaijan, where the Ottomans are now marching towards Baku. Upon declaring independence, Armenia has broken into two polities - the Republic of Armenia, which has accepted the Treaty of Batum, and Andranik's forces in Zangezur, which continue to fight for Greater Armenia. Karabakh has broken away from Azerbaijan.

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

28 May 1918 Treaty of Poti

Prime Minister Noe Ramishvili of the newly independent Democratic Republic of Georgia signs a treaty with General Otto von Lossow of the German Empire at Poti, Georgia. Germany agrees to recognize Georgia and provide it with protection in return for the use of its railways and shipping, mining rights, and the right to occupy strategic points with German wikipedia

28 May 1918 End of Transcaucasian Federation

The Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic declare independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, bringing an end to that federation. Andranik Ozanian and his Armenian Special Striking Division refuse to recognize the new republics and move to Zangezur to hold out against the advancing wikipedia

3–12 Jun 1918 German Caucasus Expedition

The forces of the German Caucasus Expedition began landing at Poti, Georgia, in agreement with the Georgian government. On June 10, they reached Tiflis and held a joint German-Georgian military parade in the city’s main thoroughfare. Combined German-Georgian garrisons were soon stationed throughout the wikipedia

4 Jun 1918 Treaty of Batum

The Ottoman Empire signs a treaty in Batum with the three successors of the Transcaucasian Federation—the Republic of Armenia, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, and the Republic of Georgia. In return for peace, Armenia and Georgia agree to cede much of their southwestern territories to the Ottomans. Azerbaijan, which is in civil war with the Baku Commune, effectively falls under Ottoman wikipedia