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Volume 20: SOUTH ASIA 1800-1950


British India 1800-1848

British Conquest of the Marathas 1800-18
Sikhs and North India 1800-18
British Expansion 1818-28
Bentinck's Reforms 1828-35
Rammohun Roy and Social Reform
British Invasion of Afghanistan and Sind
Sikhs and the Punjab 1839-48

British India's Wars 1848-1881

Dalhousie's Annexations 1848-56
Mutiny and Revolt 1857-58
Reconstruction of British India 1858-76
Famine and a Second Afghan War 1876-81
Bankim Chandra Chatterji's Novels

India's Renaissance 1881-1905

Reforms in India 1881-99
Curzon's Viceroyalty 1899-1905
Ramakrishna and Vivekananda
Theosophy and Blavatsky 1875-88
Besant and Theosophy 1889-1905
Indian National Congress 1885-1905

India's Freedom Struggle 1905-1918

India's Boycott 1905-07
British Repression of India 1907-10
India in an Imperial War 1911-18
Besant, Krishnamurti, and Bhagavan Das
Aurobindo's Spiritual Evolution
Tagore's Spiritual Expressions

Gandhi and India 1919-1933

Gandhi's Soul Force and Nonviolence
Gandhi's Nonviolent Campaigns 1919-22
India's Struggle 1922-29
Premchand's Realistic Fiction
Iqbal's Islamic Poetry
India's Civil Disobedience 1930-33

Liberating India and Pakistan 1934-1950

Indian Politics 1934-39
India during World War II
India Divided 1945-47
Indian Independence 1947-48
India and Pakistan 1948-50

Tibet, Nepal, and Ceylon 1800-1950

Tibet 1800-1905
Tibet 1905-33
Tibet 1934-50
Nepal 1800-77
Nepal 1877-1950
Ceylon 1800-75
Ceylon 1875-1931
Ceylon 1931-50

Burma, Malaya and the British 1800-1950

Burma 1800-85
Burma under the British 1886-1929
Burma under the British 1930-41
Burma Invaded 1942-45
Burma Liberated 1945-50
Malaya and the British 1800-96
Malaya and the British 1896-1941
Malaya Invaded and in Conflict 1941-50

Siam, Cambodia, and Laos 1800-1950

Siam's Monarchy 1800-1910
Siam's Monarchy 1910-32
Siam Becomes Thailand 1932-39
Thailand 1940-50
Cambodia 1800-1904
Cambodia 1904-50
Laos 1800-1940
Laos 1940-50

Vietnam and the French 1800-1950

Vietnam's Monarchy 1800-57
French Conquest of Vietnam 1858-85
Vietnamese Resistance and Doumer 1885-1902
Vietnamese Nationalists 1902-08
Vietnam under the French 1909-28
Vietnamese Revolutionaries 1928-39
Vietnam during World War II
Vietnam's August 1945 Revolution
French-Vietnam War 1946-50

Indonesia and the Dutch 1800-1950

Netherlands East Indies 1800-40
Netherlands East Indies 1840-1900
Indonesia under the Dutch 1900-08
Indonesian Nationalism 1908-27
Indonesia under Dutch Repression 1927-41
Japanese Occupation of Indonesia 1942-45
Indonesia Liberated 1945
Indonesian Revolution 1946-50

Australia to 1950

Australia as a British Penal Colony 1788-1823
Australia in Transition 1823-50
Maconochie's Penal Reforms
Australia Gold and Democracy 1851-75
Australia Reforms 1875-87
Australian Unions and Federation 1887-1900
White Australia United 1901-14
Australia in the Great War 1914-19
Australia Between Wars 1920-39
Australia and World War II 1939-49

New Zealand to 1950

Maoris and New Zealand to 1841
New Zealand and Maoris 1841-70
New Zealand Democracy 1870-1914
New Zealand's Reforms 1914-41
New Zealand and World War II 1939-49

Summary and Evaluation

British India 1800-1905
India's Freedom Struggle 1905-41
Tibet, Nepal, and Ceylon
Burma, Malaya, and Siam

Australia and New Zealand
Evaluating South Asia 1800-1950


Chronology of Asia & Africa 1800-1950



      The history of southern Asia and the southwest Pacific (Australia and New Zealand) from 1800 to 1950 tells us much about European imperialism. The British, the French, and the Dutch brought modern technology and advanced education with their trade that gave them military advantages, administrative skill, and capitalist leverage to exploit the natural resources, cheap labor, and populous markets of Asia. The Asians had ancient and sophisticated spiritual traditions in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Islam, but they were challenged by Christian missionaries and a more materialistic life-style. After much colonial exploitation in the 19th century, in the first half of the twentieth century liberation movements gradually developed. After a second great war broke out in Europe, imperial and modernized Japan moved aggressively into Southeast Asia and mercilessly exploited their people and resources by military force. After Japan’s defeat in 1945 these growing liberation movements struggled for independence as the Europeans tried to re-assert control over their previously held colonies. Thus these histories reveal the morally mixed influence of the Europeans and the development and modernization of southern Asia so that they could stand up to European domination and regain self-government in a more democratic way.
      By 1800 the British were well on their way to taking control over the entire subcontinent of India. The British East India Company was using the British military to dominate various states in India and would annex many more before the great mutiny erupted in 1857. After that revolt was subdued, Queen Victoria proclaimed English sovereignty in India with some reforms. An Indian renaissance led to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885, a political movement that would lead the effort for self-government. When Viceroy Curzon partitioned the province of Bengal in 1905, the revolution began. Using primarily nonviolent methods, India’s struggle for freedom eventually gained complete independence in 1947. The story of Mahatma Gandhi leading India’s nonviolent movement for liberation is one of the most inspiring and important episodes in the history of the world, for it offers an increasingly violent world a better method for resolving conflicts in the modern age.
      The 13th Dalai Lama (r. 1895-1933) helped Buddhist Tibet stave off encroachments from the Chinese, who took over Tibet in 1950. The Hindu kingdom of Nepal maintained an alliance with the British without losing their independence. Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was a colony of the British, but it also gained its independence after World War II.
      The history of Southeast Asia during this era is a study of European colonialism. Buddhist Burma was taken over by the British in three stages in 1826, 1852, and 1885, and Malaya was also under the British. Only Siam managed to maintain an independent kingdom. Its monarchy was replaced by the socialism of Pridi in 1932 and was renamed Thailand in 1939, but it slid into a military regime despite Pridi’s efforts.
      Cambodia and Laos were caught between Siam and Vietnam and became a part of French Indochina. Vietnam had Confucian kings in the first half of the 19th century, but the French conquered all of Vietnam by 1885. Freedom fighters continued to resist, and a more intellectually led revolution began in 1907. Ho Chih Minh and the Communist party challenged the exploitation of the French capitalists. Japan invaded Vietnam in July 1941 and let the Vichy French govern until March 1945. In August the Viet Minh declared independence, and in 1946 the long Vietnam War began against French colonialism.
      The Netherlands East Indies was exploited by the Dutch, who, like the British in India and the French in Vietnam, took immense amounts of wealth back to Europe by their economic policy of mercantilism. Once again as people became more educated, an independence movement developed; but in 1933 Sukarno was sent into exile for nine years. The Dutch were interned by the Japanese in 1942, and after the war the Indonesians led by Sukarno attained complete independence in a revolution against Dutch colonial rule.
      Sparsely populated Australia was used as a British penal colony; but after the gold rush began in 1851 it developed into a thriving democracy within the British empire. “White Australia” neglected the rights of the Aborigines and excluded Asians but prospered economically. The British also conquered the Maoris in New Zealand, which gradually became one of the most progressive nations in the world with its liberal policies.
      In our current global culture I hope that readers will want to learn more about the history and ethics of these countries in an era of dramatic conflicts and social development.

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