Southern Asia 1919: Turkish War of Independence

Political map of South & Southwest Asia on 27 Dec 1919 (Anglo-French Overreach: Turkish War of Independence), showing the following events: British withdrawal from Baku; Sivas Congress; Khilafat Movement; Fall of Omsk; Outbreak of Franco-Turkish War; Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine.

After occupying Constantinople, the Allies had proceeded to partition the Ottoman Empire, even including much of the Empire's Anatolian heartland. This alarmed Turkish nationalists, who rallied behind the war hero Mustafa Kemal to assert Turkey's independence.


Changes to the map 9 August 1919–27 December 1919

Turkish War of Independence: Mustafa Kemal’s call for revolution at Sivas has encouraged most of inland Turkey to join the cause of the Turkish Nationalists. On December 27, he arrives in Ankara - his new headquarters and the future capital of Turkey. In the west, the parliament of the Ottoman Empire secretly supports Kemal, but the Sultan remains under the Allied thumb. France is moving to replace the British garrisons in Urfa but is coming into increasing conflict with the Nationalists.

Russian Civil War: The Soviets have captured Omsk - the capital of Kolchak’s All-Russian Republic. With this the White cause has begun to collapse, allowing the Soviet forces in Siberia to link up with the Turkestan ASR.

Caucasus: The British have withdrawn from Baku and much of the rest of the region, except for a garrison in Batum. The British withdrawal and weakening of White power has allowed Daghestan and the North Caucasian Emirate to assert their independence.

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

16 Aug 1919 British withdrawal from Baku

British forces withdraw from Baku, Azerbaijan. By the end of the month, their only remaining forces in Transcaucasia are at Batum, wikipedia

4–11 Sep 1919 Sivas Congress

At the calling of Mustafa Kemal, Turkish Nationalist Party delegates from all the Anatolian provinces of the Ottoman Empire assemble at Sivas, in central Turkey, to organize Turkish resistance against the wikipedia

17 Oct 1919–1 Nov 1922 Khilafat Movement

‘Khilafat Day’ is declared in India by Indian Muslims who feared the Allies would abolish the Ottoman Caliphate. Prominent Muslim leaders form the All India Khilafat Committee in Lucknow, India, to call upon Britain to protect the Caliphate and the movement spreads across the country, gaining support from non-Muslims such as Mahatma Gandhi. Ultimately the movement fails when the Turks themselves abolish the wikipedia

14 Nov 1919 Fall of Omsk

Omsk, capital of Admiral Alexander Kolchak’s All-Russian Government, is evacuated by White forces, Kolchak himself having fled for Irkutsk the day before. Soviet Russia’s Red Army takes the city without any serious resistance, capturing large amounts of ammunition, almost 50,000 soldiers, and ten wikipedia

21 Nov 1919 Outbreak of Franco-Turkish War

Four days after landing at Mersin to take over British positions in Cilicia, the French encounter Turkish Nationalists in the city of Mardin, in the eastern tip of the intended occupation zone. Unprepared for resistance, the French evacuate the city that wikipedia

27 Nov 1919 Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine

The Kingdom of Bulgaria signs the Treaty of Neuilly with the Allied Powers of World War I at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. By the Treaty’s terms, Bulgaria cedes western Thrace to the Allies (who will pass it on to Greece) and territories in its west to the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. It also abandons its gains in WWI, and agrees to reduce its army size and pay £100 million wikipedia