1900 to 1950: A Half-Century of Crisis and Advancement
Qing 1644 to 1912
Republic of China 1912 to present     People's Republic of China 1949
Meiji Restoration 1868 to 1912
Taisho Period 1912 to 1926
Showa Period 1926 to 1989
Choson 1392 to 1910
Japanese Rule 1910 to 1945     U.S.-Soviet Occupation
French rule in "Indochina" (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) 1862 to mid-20th century
British rule 19th century to 1947     Independence and Partition 1947

SOUTH ASIA 1900-1950

British Rule (19th C to 1947)

India: A Historical Overview [Asia Society]
Background reading about "the people and characteristics of India's historical eras, from the early Indus River Valley civilization, through the Mughal period to present day."

South Asia, 1900 A.D.-present [Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
"India struggles for independence from colonial British rule through the early twentieth century, finally gaining its freedom in 1947." With a period overview, list of key events, and seven related artworks.

TimelineThe Story of India: Freedom [PBS]
Excellent annotated timeline with text, images, and video clips throughout.

British India [UCLA]
An extensive look at the history of the British presence in India, by UCLA professor of history Vinay Lal.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869-1948
Mahatma Gandhi [UCLA]
An in-depth look at the life and legacy of Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948), by UCLA professor of history Vinay Lal.

Independence and Partition

Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence, 1945 [Reacting Consortium]
Deciding the fate of the diverse peoples of the Indian subcontinent...An interactive role play exercise set at Simla, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where the British viceroy has invited leaders of various religious and political constituencies to work out the future of Britain's largest colony. Will the British transfer power to the Indian National Congress, which claims to speak for all Indians? Or will the British create a separate Muslim state—Pakistan—as the Muslim League proposes? And what will happen to the vulnerable minorities—such as the Sikhs and untouchables—or to the hundreds of small states ruled by hereditary monarchs? Students struggle to reconcile religious identity with nation building—perhaps the most intractable issue of the modern world. Texts include the literature of Hindu revival (Tilak and Sarvarkar); the Qur'an and the literature of Islamic nationalism (Iqbal); and the writings of Gandhi, Ambedkar, Nehru, Jinnah, and Marx—among others.

The Story of India: Partition and Independence [PBS]
A brief overview of the people, places, and major events related to the partitioning of colonial India into two independent states, Pakistan and India. Told through images and video clips from the PBS documentary. With discussion questions for students.

Flashback to Indian Partition [BBC News]
A detailed overview of the events of August 1947 that created India and Pakistan.

Postcolonial Studies: The Partition of India [Department of English, Emory University]
A brief overview with text discussing the reasons for partition, as well as the impact and aftermath. With maps and a timeline.

Independent India [UCLA]
An extensive look at the political history of India after its 1947 independence, by UCLA professor of history Vinay Lal.

Pakistan: A Political History [Asia Society]
"When Pakistan became a country on August 14th, 1947, [it became] the largest Muslim state in the world. The creation of Pakistan was catalyst to the largest demographic movement in recorded history. Nearly seventeen million people-Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs-are reported to have moved in both directions between India and the two wings of Pakistan (the eastern wing is now Bangladesh)."

India Partition [Stanford History Education Group]
The decision to partition India into two countries as part of its independence from Britain in August 1947 had dramatic consequences. The creation of Pakistan as a separate, Muslim state from India, a secular state, set off waves of displacement, migration, and violence. In this lesson, students weigh the options of leaders in 1947 and use primary sources to evaluate the Partition Plan. Includes lesson, power point, and documents.

Recommended ResourceIndian Independence and the Question of Partition [The Choices Program, Brown University]
(Buchanan prize winner, 2014) The partition of 1947, which led to the creation of India and Pakistan, was one of the most volatile events of the twentieth century. Partition coincided with the end of British colonial rule over the subcontinent, and Indian independence was overshadowed by violence, mass displacement, and uncertainty. This unit examines the history leading up to 1947 and the legacies of partition that remain today. The experience of one province, Bengal, is discussed in depth. Available for purchase in print or Digital Editions.


The South Asian Diaspora

The Desi Diaspora [Asia Society]
"This essay describes the world events and many adversities that shaped overseas Indians' sense of unity and identity over the past two centuries."

Primary SourceEchoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California, 1899-1965 [The Library, University of California, Berkeley]
"The story of early Indian immigrants to California told through photographs, documents, and publications, drawn from the South/Southeast Asia Library's rich archive of material on South Asians in North America."

Sikh Community: Over 100 Years in the Pacific Northwest [The Wing Luke Asian Museum]
"Although Sikhs have been living in the United States and Canada for over a century, the general public understands little about the Sikh faith and the community's long-standing roots in the Pacific Northwest. The first Sikh immigrants arrived in this region in the late 1800s, working in lumber mills and constructing railroads." Five topics, with many images: 1) Sikhism (history); 2) Life in the Pacific Northwest; 3) Distinguished Community Leaders; 4) Mis-Identity; 5) Being Sikh in a Western World.

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