Category Archives: British

British Invasion

British Invasion

British Invasion

The countries in white are the ones which the British Empire did not invade. Here are the ones which were ever part of the empire.

British Empire

British Empire

The British Empire’s power was mastery of the seas. This map shows shipping lanes based on ship’s logs from the 19th century, when the empire was at its peak.

Global Trade Based On Ship Logs

Global Trade Based On Ship Logs

I don’t have anything specific to say about the British Empire at this time, I’m just always on the lookout for interesting maps. The shipping map appeared yesterday, the British invasion map today, and I took it as a sign. I hunted up the original source of the invasion map – it’s on the Sapping Attention blogspot. I can tell with a quick glance I am going to be spending a lot of time digesting the content there – it’s all about handling large volumes of text to illuminate historical events.

Somalia’s al-Shabaab Has A Coup

Six months ago I wrote Clearing Somalia Of al-Shabaab. Today I was reading Will Somali Islamist Purge Strengthen al-Shabaab? and I see they have not updated their map of who controls what since then, even though the situation is clearly changing.

Somalia 2013 July

Somalia 2013 July

One of the BBC reporter’s sources was Somalia: The Godane Coup And The Unraveling Of Al-Shabaab, which led me to African Arguments, which is new to me. This site is a product of Britain’s Royal African Society.

Africa has long been the locus and the focus for the most impassioned and intellectually-informed debate. But for many years, specialist Africa coverage in the world’s media has been in decline, alongside the withering of many African journals and magazines that used to provide a forum for debate and opinion. African news and views have moved to the web, but there has been no comparable Africa-wide movement which provides in-depth analysis and debate of the issues and controversies that animate the continent today. With African Arguments Online we intend to fill this gap.

I was lamenting the lack of good sources of the region in my post from December, and now I have the dubious benefit of having found an excellent one for background. Things like this are a resource … and a trap. The British Empire ruled Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and the relatively peaceful far northwest of Somalia, the self governing Somaliland. The site has detailed information on Sudan, which it seems to be using in the inclusive, pre-separation sense of the word, meaning both the current country of Sudan and the recently independent South Sudan, as well as Kenya and its concerns over the condition of Somalia.

Africa Partition-1885-1914

As my writing on North Africa, the Mideast, and Central Asia has gained audience I have had the pleasure of speaking to people who are either military or intelligence service for the former colonial masters – the U.K., France, and Italy. It is interesting to me to see the ongoing economic ties and the differing sense of responsibility each country has for their former colonies.

Somalia is in sad shape and their chaos radiates all around. Just across the Gulf of Aden we see Yemen is coming apart. Plans by upstream nations to dam the Nile have Egypt and Sudan greatly concerned. Troubles in the Horn of Africa are neither as near nor as hazardous as those in the Mideast when seen from the west, but disorder breeds illicit networks and their reach can dramatically exceed their notional geographic range. We should take a long, hard look at the problems here, and then do what we can to reduce the instability and associated violence.

Empires Of The Middle East

I just published Tripolar Power Struggle? This map heavy piece describes the Shia/Sunni divide in terms of the three current regional powers – Shia Persian Iran, Sunni Turkish Turkey, and Sunni Arab Saudi Arabia & Qatar.

The history of the three underlying empires, as well as two other repressed ethnic groups in the region, and the partition of the dying Ottoman empire is helpful for understanding how we arrived at the current situation.

Persian Empire

Persian Empire

The region was dominated by the Persian Empire from about 600 BC to about 300 BC.

Greater Armenia

Greater Armenia

Greater Armenia is a much abused, overloaded term. This map spans from the end of the Persian empire until 428 AD.

Caucasus & Mideast

This map from around 100 BC shows the maximum extent of Armenia reach in the region. Overall, information on the Armenians is fragmented – the old saying about winners writing history books apparently holds true.

Arab Empire in 750

The Arab Empire began with the Prophet Mohamed and peaked a little over a century later with the maximum extent of the Umayyad Caliphate.

Ottoman Empire 1300 1683

The Ottoman Empire began forming shortly after the Crusader Kingdoms were ejected from the Middle East and it lasted until the gap between WWI and WWII

Ottoman Losses 1807-1924

Troubled regions in the last fifty years, from the Balkans to the Caucasus to the current dispute in Syria, are all colored by former Ottoman control of each area.

Armenia Genocide 1915 to 1923

NATO member Turkey would prefer the world not see this map, but a century ago they slaughtered their Armenian subjects as a prelude to maximizing the area controlled by ethnic Turks at the end of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

Kurdistan

This map is mislabeled. There never has been a standalone Kurdistan. There are thirty eight million Kurds spread between Iran, Iran, Syria, and Turkey, and they are repressed or placated depending on the needs of which ever state they inhabit.

Sykes Picot 1916

Sykes Picot 1916

The last bit of imperial meddling that got us to where we are today was the partition of the dying Ottoman empire between the British, the French, and the Russians. These are the lines from the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916.

Rivers Of The Fertile Crescent contains the oldest maps on this site – showing the domestication of our common farm animals and two key grains between ten and twelve thousand years ago. The Mideast brought forth the world’s three great interrelated monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These lands have been the crossroads of the world for nearly three thousand years.

Diplomacy here is far more complex than Christian west vs. Muslim east, or Shia Persian vs. Sunni Arab. We can begin to do a better job of this by understanding and respecting how things came to be the way they are today.