Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Abigail McGowan


British India, Mandatory Palestine, Partition, Cartography, Boundaries, Conflict


This project seeks to understand why the partition of British India in 1947 and the partition of Mandatory Palestine in 1948, both areas under British rule and under religious conflict, produced different results. Why, by 1948, had the Radcliffe Boundary—the boundary that divides present-day India and Pakistan—remain cartographically stable, while the proposed partition of British-mandated Palestine produced only one state with consistently changing boundaries? By comparing and contrasting these cases, I form a greater understanding of the nature of partition and the geopolitical changes and implications it evoked by 1948. I explore the political thought processes and contextual background leading to the partitions of British India and Mandatory Palestine through the use of primary source documents from the British Library and the National Archives. Thereafter, I identify and analyze different factors that had key, influential roles in producing the different results. The presence of these factors—or lack thereof—help explain why the partition of British India succeeded in creating two cartographically viable states and the partition of mandatory Palestine failed in doing likewise.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.