The Great War in the Middle East
Southern Asia 1915.0428
Middle Eastern Theatre of World War I (28 April 1915)
Historical Map of South & Southwest Asia
By 1915, the War in Europe had reached a stalemate in the West while Russia faced increasing pressure in the East. The Allies planned to help Russia by landing troops on the Gallipoli peninsula and marching on the Ottoman capital of Constantinople, thereby forcing open the Turkish Straits and knocking the Ottomans out of the War. However, the Allies proved unable to break Turkish defenses at Gallipoli and eventually withdrew.
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.
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.
1915 Singapore Mutiny
Men of the 5th Light Infantry Regiment of the Indian Army - an entirely Muslim unit - mutiny against the British in Singapore in response to rumors that they will be sent to fight against their co-religionists in the Ottoman Empire. After several days fighting, the mutiny is suppressed with the help of French, Russian, and Japanese warships
The Triple Entente of France, Great Britain, and Russia secretly agree to a partition of the Ottoman Empire and Persia in the event of victory in World War I. Russia is to obtain Constantinople and the Dardanelles, with Constantinople to become a free city; France is to gain Syria and Cilicia; and Britain is to gain influence over the neutral zone in Persia (south of Isfahan, Yazd, and Zulfiqar).
Siege of Van
Armenians revolt against an Ottoman crackdown in Van, eastern Anatolia. After several weeks fighting, Ottoman forces abandon the city on May 17 - one day before Russian troops arrive.
Arrest and deportation of Armenians in Constantinople
Ottomans begin the arrest and deportation of Armenian notables in Constantinople, the start of what will become known as the Armenian genocide.
Allied landings at Gallipoli
The Allies land on and around the Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey: the British/British Indian 29th Division at Helles; the Australians and New Zealanders (Anzacs) north of Gaba Tepe at what would be named Anzac Cove; and the French at Kum Kale on the Asian shore. The Allies manage to secure their position and advance inland against the Ottoman defenders, despite suffering heavy casualties. However the campaign will soon become a stalemate when Ottoman reinforcements arrive.
The British sign a treaty with the Idrisid Emirate of Asir, supporting its revolt against the Ottoman Empire.