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At the wake of the 20th century, British Empire spanned across the entire known world. Colonies, towns, nations were under the control of the central government. Just as it was large in territory, the Empire was large in economic, cultural and political contributions to the world during the 18th and 19th century. After the battle of Trafalgar, there was no power that could stop the spreading of British colonies in Africa and Asia. The main driving force behind such a vast expansion policy was trade, especially in spices and exotic materials. British Empire, at the height of it's power, encompassed enormous areas, including: most of Africa, except for the northernmost part, which was under French control but even so Britain held sizeable holdings there, India, there were numerous colonies in South-East Asia, Burma, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada and many others. Influence of Dutch and French was diminished, which left Britain as the last global empire until it fell apart in the middle of the 20th century.
The case of British colonial holdings in the Middle East is in many ways different from all others. These territories were not obtained through direct conquest – such as Hong Kong or India, they were the result of a diplomatic/spy activity. Palestine, Egypt and the areas surrounding the Persian Gulf were the center of British colonial power in the Middle East, but Britain never officially held those areas, there was always a puppet leader in place – one that was under control of London. Naturally, there were differences in the way some colonial holdings were ruled over. Aden, for example, was a fully fledged colony, it was ruled directly while Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was a condominium. There were a handful of protectorates – such as Kuwait and mandates in Palestine and Iraq. After 1936, some of the former colonies changed their status into treaty partners – most noteworthy were Egypt and Iraq. The purpose of this paper is to research some of the intricacies behind the British rule in the Middle East at the beginning of the 20th century (from 1900- 1918). To better understand and evaluate the role of Britain in the shaping of the region, it is necessary to look at the structure...