Partition of Bengal

Pax Britannica

Southern Asia 1905.1016

Partition of Bengal

Pax Britannica (16 October 1905)

Historical Map of South & Southwest Asia

British India was dominated by Bengal, whose 80 million people made up over a quarter of the population of the subcontinent. In a bid to make governing Bengal easier, it was split into two provinces in 1905 - a largely Muslim east and a largely Hindu west. This act was strongly opposed by Indian nationalists, who saw it as an attempt to undermine the Congress party and stir up religious tensions. Eventually the British gave way, reuniting Bengal in 1912, but by this time Muslim separatism was emerging as a political force as the nationalists had feared.

Notes

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.

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1905 Russian Revolution

On Sunday, 22 January (later known as Bloody Sunday), troops guarding the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russian Empire, open fire on the demonstrators attempting to deliver a petition to Tsar Nicholas II, causing hundreds of deaths. The event inspires strikes and protests across the Empire, bringing the Russian economy to its knees. On 30 October the Tsar agrees to grant reforms and the revolution slowly winds down, although revolts continue into December.

Treaty of Portsmouth

At the Treaty of Portsmouth, Japan receives southern Sakhalin and leases on Port Arthur and the southern part of the Chinese Eastern Railway from Russian Empire, ending the Russo-Japanese War.

Partition of Bengal

The Bengal Presidency, British Indian Empire, is divided into two provinces by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India. The western portion retains the name of Bengal and the capital of Calcutta, while the eastern portion is named Eastern Bengal and Assam, with Dacca as its capital. The move is opposed by Indian nationalists, who see it as a British attempt to turn the Muslims of East Bengal against the Hindus of West Bengal.

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