Today in South Asian history: the Durand Line is drawn (1893)

The Durand Line, AKA “the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” is one of those legacies of colonial times that everybody’s still, unfortunately, living with today. Named after the guy who dreamed it up, British Foreign Secretary for India (at the time) Sir Mortimer Durand, it was meant to fix the border between British India and… Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Durand Line is drawn (1893)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

Maude wisely spent the rest of 1916 repairing the damage that had been done in the campaign that culminated at Kut. He recruited new troops from India, trained them, and had his engineers build out a rail network that could support a full-scale northern offensive. His target was Baghdad, which at this particular point in… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

Today in World War I history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916), and the Battle of Rafa (1917)

There are two World War I battles that have anniversaries today. Of them, Gallipoli is far and away the larger and more famous. But while we’re here I figured we could at least mention the other one. Technically this is anniversary of the end of the Gallipoli campaign, which lasted eight and a half months starting… Continue reading Today in World War I history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916), and the Battle of Rafa (1917)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Faysal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)

As World War I was wrapping up, and the Ottoman Empire was collapsing, the question of what to do with all that soon-to-be-former Ottoman land loomed large. Most Ottoman territory outside of Anatolia was predominantly Arab, and the 1916-1918 Arab Revolt had done much to advance British war aims in the Middle East, so the… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Faysal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Reza Pahlavi is crowned Shah (1925)

Decades before they helped engineer the coup that restored Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi to power, the British were responsible for engineering another Iranian coup that eventually resulted in the enthronement of his father, Reza Shah Pahlavi (d. 1944), and the institution of the Pahlavi “Dynasty.” I put “dynasty” in quotes because it was just the… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Reza Pahlavi is crowned Shah (1925)

Today in Middle Eastern history: General Allenby comes to Jerusalem (1917)

The Battle of Jerusalem was an almost six-week affair that began in mid-November, 1917, when Allenby and his Egyptian Expeditionary Force followed up their success at Mughar Ridge by pushing into the Judean Hills. The Battle of Nabi Samwil (a hill just north of Jerusalem where the prophet Samuel is allegedly buried) followed, in late… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: General Allenby comes to Jerusalem (1917)

Today in Central/South Asian history: the Durand Line is drawn (1893)

The Durand Line, AKA “the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” is one of those legacies of colonial times that everybody’s still, unfortunately, living with today. Named after the guy who dreamed it up, British Foreign Secretary for India (at the time) Sir Mortimer Durand, it was meant to fix the border between British India and… Continue reading Today in Central/South Asian history: the Durand Line is drawn (1893)