End of Mandatory Palestine


Southern Asia 1948.0515

End of Mandatory Palestine

Independence of India, Pakistan, and the states of South Asia and the Middle East (15 May 1948)

Historical Map of South & Southwest Asia

The British Mandate of Palestine had become increasingly unstable since the 1930s, facing first Arab and then Jewish insurgencies against British rule. In 1947 the United Nations suggested the partition of Palestine into separate independent Arab and Jewish states, prompting a civil war to break out between the Arabs and the Jews. The Jews were victorious by the following year, declaring an independent State of Israel to coincide with the British withdrawal.

Main Events

Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi, renowned as Mahatma Gandhi, was shot three times in the chest at point-blank range by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, in the garden of the Birla House in New Delhi. Gandhi had been on the way to a prayer meeting accompanied by his nieces and died soon after. His death was mourned nationwide, with over two million people joining the five hour long funeral procession.

Independence of Ceylon

On 4 February 1948, the British Colony of Ceylon gained independence as the Dominion of Ceylon, in accordance with the Ceylon Independence Act 1947. However military treaties with the United Kingdom maintained British air and sea bases in the country and British officers still held most of the upper ranks of the Army. These treaties were ended in 1949, after they prompted the Soviet Union to veto Ceylon's application to join the United Nations.

Baluchistan Assembly

In 1947, when India was partitioned, the Khanate of Kalat had opted for independence. In March 1948, the Pakistani government persuaded the Khanate and the other remaining princely states in Baluchistan to accede to Pakistan.

Israeli Declaration of Independence

David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The declaration became effective upon the termination of the British Mandate over Palestine at midnight.

Outbreak of Arab-Israeli War

Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia - the major states of the Arab League - declared war on the newly declared State of Israel. That same day, the Egyptian, Syrian, Transjordanian, Lebanese, and Iraqi invasion of Israel on behalf of Palestine began.

End of Mandatory Palestine

After evacuating Jerusalem on 14 May, British forces remaining in Palestine, including High Commissioner Alan Cunningham, withdrew via Haifa. On 15 May the Palestine Mandate ended, leaving the country divided between the newly declared State of Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.

About this map     Download map