Previous Page [Digital South Asia Library] Next Page

Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 216.

Switch to image view

India (Republic), Ministry of States. White paper on Indian states. Rev. ed. New Delhi, 1950.

Keith, Arthur B. A constitutional history of India, 1600–1935. London, 1936; reprinted in 1969.

Lyall, Alfred C. The rise and expansion of the British dominion in India. 5th ed. London, 1910; reprinted in 1968.

Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra, ed. The history and culture of the Indian people. Vols. 9, 10, and 11. Bombay, 1963, 1965, 1969.

O'Malley, Lewis S. S., ed. Modern India and the West: A study of the interaction of their civilizations. London and New York, 1941.

Philips, Cyril Henry, ed. The evolution of India and Pakistan 1858–1947: Selected documents. London, 1962.

Roberts, Paul Ernest. History of British India under the Company and the Crown. Completed by T. G. P. Spear. 3d ed. London, 1952.

Singh, Gurmukh Nihal. Landmarks in Indian constitutional and national develop- ment. Vol. 1. 1600–1919. 5th ed. Delhi, 1963.

Spear, Thomas George Percival. The Oxford history of modern India, 1740–1947. Part 3 of the Oxford history of India, 3d ed. Oxford, 1967.

Thompson, Edward John, and Garratt, Geoffrey Theodore. Rise and fulfillment of British rule in India. 2d ed. Allahabad, 1958.

Various authors and dates: gazetteers relating to provinces, districts, and princely states (see plate XIII.C.1 for citations).

Wilson, Patrick. Government and politics of India and Pakistan, 1885–1955, a bibliography of works in Western languages. Berkeley, Calif., 1956.


VIII.A.1. Events Related to the Fixing of Modern South Asian Frontiers

For all practical purposes the conquest of India was com- pleted with the annexation of the Sikh domains in the Punjab in 1849. But conquering an area was one thing, securing it quite another. The latter half of the 19th century and the pe- riod leading up to World War I was, as we have already noted, an age of rampant imperialism, and the British were not alone in extending their power deep into Asia. The Russians, having swept eastward across the wastes of Siberia to the Pacific well before the British had more than a toehold on the Indian subcontinent, shifted their attentions southward into Central Asia during the 19th century. Notwithstanding the great dis- tances that separated Britain's Indian holdings from those of the Russians until 1854 (cf. plate VIII.A.2, map (a)) and the more relevant fact that the intervening space consisted mainly of barren desert and formidable mountain ranges, cer- tain of the British seemed to perceive behind every southward probe the Russians made, whether for exploration, commerce, or diplomatic purposes, a grand and sinister design whose ulti- mate object was the conquest of India itself. (In an earlier day, particularly during the reign of Napoleon, similar ideas of a proposed French overland march to India had engaged the fancies of British diplomats and largely dictated their for- eign policy in regard to Persia.) Carried to implausible ex- tremes in the minds of some, these Russophobic attitudes were contagious and pervaded Britain's frontier policy until well into the 20th century, causing the government to attach great importance to forging a chain of defensive outposts along In- dia's northwest and northern frontiers and to assume political control over these areas. Similar, though less urgent, concerns were felt with respect to the French as they expanded their holdings in Indo-China and increased their diplomatic con- nections with Siam and the then still independent kingdom of (Upper) Burma. Thus, British policy on the northeast frontier largely paralleled that in the northwest. Burma's existence as an independent state was extinguished in 1886. In 1907 Anglo- Russian and Anglo-French accords guaranteed the continued existence of Afghanistan and Siam respectively, confirming the buffer roles that had been thrust on each of them late in the preceding century.

China's role in Inner Asia, specifically in Sinkiang, in Tibet, and (stretching the usual connotation of term) in Yunnan, was of much less concern to the British than was that of Rus- sia. The reigning but moribund Manchu dynasty, reeling under repeated blows from the Western imperial powers and latterly from the Japanese and often unable to control its own provin- cial warlords, was rarely if ever in a position to pose a serious threat to British interests along their common frontiers. Brit- ain's worst fear with respect to China was that it would suc- cumb to Russian pressures and permit a Russian military pres- ence in either Sinkiang or Tibet. Indeed, several brief Russian military incursions into Sinkiang did take place, and for sev- eral years Russia occupied a large area around Kuldja along the Ili River. Their important economic and diplomatic pres- ence in Sinkiang also posed a problem. Possibly to avert Rus- sian countermoves and possibly because of unwillingness to take definitive action until the time was most opportune, the British never pressed as hard to settle India's borders with China as with other states. In one sector, however, the time did appear to be ripe following the Chinese revolution and the establishment of de facto Tibetan independence in 1912–13. The British then sought to establish Tibet as a territorial ana- logue of Mongolia with an Inner and an Outer zone, Inner Tibet to remain subject to Chinese control (as was Inner Mon- golia) and Outer Tibet to be a British sphere of influence (as Outer Mongolia was to Russia). The Simla Conference of 1913–14, at which the negotiations were carried out, also re- sulted in the delimitation, to the satisfaction of the British and the Tibetan participants, of the eastern end of the India-Tibet border, the so-called McMahon Line. The Chinese, for their part, despite their envoy's initialing the boundary accord of the Simla Convention of 1914, never gave it their final ap- proval. Therein lies the nub of the Sino-Indian boundary dis- pute in the east. As for the Western sector, there was never so much as a Sino-British delimitation conference, let alone a formal boundary agreement.

The specific events relating to Britain's frontier policies in both the northwest and the northeast may be traced on maps (a)–(c) of plate VIII.A.1. Included, among other things, are details of the second and third Afghan Wars, of the more im- portant of the innumerable tribal disturbances the British had to reckon with along their North-West Frontier, of the con- quest and "pacification" of Burma, of the reduction of Bhutan and Sikkim to the status of British protectorates, and of Young- husband's successful invasion of Tibet. For additional details of British relations with Tibet, as well as for those of the Chi- nese, especially as they concern the establishment of the con- troversial frontiers and the international status of that region, map (e) should be consulted. It is obvious that many of the historical events depicted on maps (a)–(c) and (e) still re- tain their significance and will do so until the outstanding ter- ritorial disputes along South Asia's frontier have been settled. For a continuation of the story beyond 1947, the reader may consult plates IX.C.1–3.

A consequence of foreign political and economic interest in the interior regions of Asia was that various governments dis- patched numerous missions to open up trading outposts, estab- lish new diplomatic contacts, explore, gather military intelli- gence, survey and map, and carry out scientific research. Other missions were privately conceived and executed by soldiers of fortune, merchant adventurers, and scientists (see map (d)). Their travels were largely carried out without the encumbrance of passports or visas, and by nobody's leave but that of their own government (and sometimes not even that). Not a few travelers fell victim to disease, natural hazards, bandits, and unsympathetic indigenous authorities; but those who returned were rich in experience, if not usually in material rewards. The knowledge they put at the disposal of their governments, or of the governments who sponsored them (if they happened, for example, to be Swedish, German, or Hungarian), did much to kindle the interest of those governments in lands beyond their current frontiers and to facilitate numerous military ven- tures that were later undertaken into those regions. The time span between exploration and attempts at annexation was sometimes remarkably short. For example, the unilaterally authorized surveys of Morshead and Bailey in what later be- came the North-East Frontier Agency (now Arunachal Pra- desh) and in eastern Tibet, carried out only in 1912–13, were the sine qua non for the British depiction of the aforementioned McMahon Line, which they were to present for the considera- tion and approval of China and Tibet the following year.

Map (d) provides a spatial synopsis of the phasing of ex- ploration beyond the frontiers of India over the period from 1819, by which date the British had conquered all but north- western India, to 1914, the year of their last significant attempt at border delimitation. The chronology to the right indicates some of the highlights in the annals of exploration in those same regions, beginning with George Bogle's commercial mis- sion to Tibet in 1774 and ending with the aforementioned Morshead-Bailey surveys.

Stirring and important as were the adventures of the travel- ers accounted for on map (d), one should not lose sight of the fact that many other intrepid individuals had covered some of the same ground at much earlier dates. Apart from such cele- brated figures as Marco Polo and a few others predating the 16th century, these travelers include numerous Jesuit and Cap- uchin missionaries and not a few traders. Their interests, how- ever, were by and large not those of the period we are dealing with now, and their accounts, if they were preserved at all, were not of the kind that would materially advance the designs of those who were later to put exploration at the service of the state.

Sources (in addition to those in the General Bibliography)

Sources for Maps (a)–(b)

C. C. Davies (1932); F. Drew (1875); L. Dupree (1973); A. Forbes (1892); W. K. Fraser Tyler (1967); G. Grassmuck et al. (1969); T. H. Holdich (1901), (1910); M. Holdsworth (1959); India, Army Intelligence Branch (1907–11), (1908) (both listed under Government Documents); G. N. Moles- worth (1962); H. L. Nevill (1912); R. S. Rastogi (1965); H. Roskoschny (1885); D. P. Singhal (1963); J. W. Spain (1963); A. Swinson (1967); P. M. Sykes (1940).

Sources for Map (c)

P. Fleming (1961); D. G. E. Hall (1945), (1968b); U Htin Aung (1965), (1967); India, Army Intelligence Branch (1907–11, listed under Government Documents); A. Lamb (1960), (1964), (1966); A. Mackenzie (1884); D. Wood- man (1962), (1970).

Sources for Map (d) (maps only; see also note on map itself)

J. Arrowsmith (1834); G. and J. Cary (1824); T. G. Mont- gomerie (1872); J. Walker (1841), (1853), (1854).

VIII.A.2. The March of Imperialism in Asia, 1800–1947; The British Commonwealth in July 1947

This map plate seeks to put the events treated on plate VIII.A.1 into a broader spatiotemporal context. Map (a) con- siders imperial expansion over the whole of Asia in the period from 1800 to 1947 and relates to all the major European co- lonial powers, as well as to Japan and the United States, while map (b) relates solely to the British Empire and provides a total global view.

The essential elements of the story told by map (a) have already been limned in the general text for atlas section VIII and in the text for plate VIII.A.1. The map simply details the spatial progression of imperialism in India itself (recapitulat- ing more detailed maps on plates VII.A.2 and 3, as well as VIII.A.1) and in the rest of Asia. It also differentiates between those areas over which foreign sovereignty was imposed in more or less undiluted form and those areas that were regarded for varying periods as foreign spheres of influence. What is most striking is how few areas fall into neither of these cate- gories. The dates of decolonization before 1947 or of termi- nation of spheres of influence are also shown. It is interesting that, save for Mongolia, which became legally independent in 1946, all such spheres were surrendered before or during World War II. One also sees that, as important as Indian inde- pendence in 1947 was, it was preceded by the granting of freedom to several other dependencies in the period from 1932 to 1946, when Iraq and the Philippines joined the family of sovereign states. Most of these formal cessions of foreign sov- ereignty, however, still allowed for some sort of military pres- ence by the previous colonial or mandatory power. In this sense the granting of Indo-Pakistani independence, where no such arrangement existed, takes on enhanced significance.

Map (b) shows the total extent and political composition of the greatest empire the world has ever known, accounting for over a fourth of the world's area and population in 1947 (past its territorial apogee in 1932). The prominent place of South Asia within the British Empire as a whole is indicated by the two pie graphs accompanying the map.



A. Adams et al. (1966); K. V. Bazilevich (1950); J. W. Cham- bers et al. (1966); J. D. Fage (1958); Geschiedkundige atlas van Nederland . . . (1913–38); Grosser historischer Weltatlas (1954–70); D. G. E. Hall et al. (1964); Imperial gazetteer . . . (1931); D. G. C. Kerr (1966); T. R. Miller (1969); Neder- landsch Aardrijkskundig Genootschap (1938); R. R. Palmer (1957); W. R. Shepherd (1964); G. Westermann (1968); I. Wynd and J. Wood (1963).

Other Works

G. J. Alder (1963); M. Edwardes (1967); H. B. George (1929); H. A. Gibbons (1919); T. Grimm et al. (1961); D. G. E. Hall (1968b); A. J. Herbertson and O. J. R. Howarth (1914); J. B. Kelly (1964); A. Lamb (1960), (1964), (1968); Statesman's yearbook (various years); W. W. Willoughby (1927); Worldmark encyclopedia of nations (1963).

Previous Page To Table of Contents Next Page

Back to Schwartzberg Atlas | Back to the DSAL Page

This page was last generated on Monday 18 February 2013 at 16:26 by
The URL of this page is: