Political map of South & Southwest Asia on 04 Jan 1948 (Independence: Independence of Burma), showing the following events: Occupation of Junagadh; UN Partition Plan for Palestine; Civil war in Mandatory Palestine; Al-Wathbah uprising; Independence of Burma.

Independence of Burma


Southern Asia 1948.0104

Independence of Burma

Independence of India, Pakistan, and the states of South Asia and the Middle East (4 January 1948)

Historical Map of South & Southwest Asia

The British departure from India in 1947 made their remaining colonies in South Asia redundant. Burma - which had been making increasing demands for independence since their occupation by Japan in World War II - became an independent republic in early 1948, followed shortly by Ceylon.

Main Events

Occupation of Junagadh

In response to the growing disorder in Junagadh following its accession to Pakistan, the dewan (chief minister), Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, departed for Karachi, Pakistan, on 8 November to join the Nawab in exile. Indian troops marched into Junagadh the following day, receiving its surrender at 6pm. On 20 February 1948, the people of Junagadh voted almost unanimously to join India, leading to India's annexation of the state on the 25th.

UN Partition Plan for Palestine

The United Nations adopted UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II), recommending that the United Kingdom terminate the Mandate of Palestine, partitioning it between two independent states - one Arab and one Jewish - and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem. The United Kingdom was to withdraw no later than 1 August 1948, with the two states coming into existence two months after the withdrawal. The partition plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine but rejected by Arab leaders and governments.

Civil war in Mandatory Palestine

The Arab refusal to accept the United Nations recommendation to partition the British Mandate of Palestine prompted Jewish communities in Palestine to also withdraw their support, resulting in civil war. The two sides clashed as the British organized their withdrawal. As the mandate expiry date of 15 May 1948 approached, the Jewish Haganah launched a major offensive, capturing Jerusalem and much of northern Palestine.

Al-Wathbah uprising

Protests broke out in Baghdad in response to the Iraqi monarchy's plans to renew the 1930 Anglo-Iraqi Treaty, an agreement which had effectively made Iraq a British protectorate. In response to the continued agitation, the king annulled the treaty on 21 January. The protests continued for another week, when police brought them violently to a close at the cost of 300-400 demonstrators.

Independence of Burma

Following the Panglong Agreement of 12 February 1947, the Union of Burma became an independent republic on 4 January 1948, ending British rule. Sao Shwe Thaik became President and U Nu Prime Minister. Unlike most other former British colonies, Burma chose not to join the British Commonwealth of Nations.

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