Southern Asia 1934: Soviet invasion of Xinjiang

The 1933 invasion of Xinjiang by the Nationalist Chinese-allied Ma family alarmed the Soviet Union, which responded by mounting its own invasion of the province to support its besieged governor. With the help of their modern army, the Soviets expelled the Ma, effectively turning Xinjiang into a satellite state.


Changes to the map 12 December 1933–16 March 1934

Xinjiang Wars: The Soviets have invaded Xinjiang in support of Sheng Shicai, capturing Kulcha, Chuguchak, Turfan, and Korla, and relieving the siege of Urumqi. In response, the Ma family are fleeing south, invading the East Turkestan Republic by capturing Aksu and relieving the siege of New Kashgar.

Yemen: At the Treaty of Sana'a, Britain and Yemen have agreed on a border between Yemen and the Aden protectorates.

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

? Nov 1933–? Apr 1934 Soviet invasion of Xinjiang

Volunteer Soviet troops and White Guards begin intervening in Xinjiang, China, to relieve the siege of Xinjiang’s governor Shen Shicai in Urumqi by the Kuomintang-allied forces of Zhang Peiyuan and Ma Zhongying. When these troops prove unsuccessful, two brigades of about 7,000 Soviet OGPU troops invade, supported by tanks, aircraft, and artillery with mustard gas. Breaking through at Kulja and Chuguchak, they defeat Ma after several weeks battle on the frozen Tutung River outside Urumqi. A further defeat at Dawan Cheng drives Ma south to Kashgar, after which most of the Soviet forces wikipedia

13 Jan–16 Apr 1934 Fall of the First East Turkestan Republic

While Ma Zhongying is holding out against the Soviet invasion of Xinjiang, he dispatches 800 troops under Ma Fuyuan towards the Turkish Islamic Republic of East Turkestan (TIRET). Ma Fuyuan defeats Hoja-Niyaz at Aksu before proceeding to break through to Ma Zhanchang in Kashgar New City, repelling the much larger East Turkestani army. The TIRET government flees to Yangi Hissar and then Yarkant, where, despite support from Afghan volunteers, it is wikipedia

11 Feb 1934 Treaty of Sanaa

The government of Yemen signs a treaty of friendship and amity with the British representative in Aden, with both sides coming to an understanding over Aden. Under the terms of the treaty, the border between Yemen and the Aden Protectorates is agreed and Britain guarantees the independence of Yemen for forty wikipedia