Map of the World in Arabic, Chinese, and Malay



This map of the world was produced in 1916 by Wellington House, the official British War Propaganda Bureau in London. The map aimed to demonstrate the ‘world dominance’ of the Allies, as it highlighted the large number of territories under Allied influence (in blue or red), in contrast to the smaller share of the Central Powers (in yellow) and the neutrals (white). The map was translated in multiple languages - English, Arabic, Chinese, and Malay - and was disseminated among British colonial subjects, in order to retain their loyalty to the British Empire and the Allies. To see the original maps and accompanying letters, please click on the sources above.


This map of the world is a remarkable example of British imperial propaganda during the First World War. Propaganda was not only aimed at those on the home front, the dominions, and the neutral states, but it was also directed at the colonies, since the war impacted heavily on European empires. The mobilisation of colonial soldiers into European armies and German efforts to undermine the French, British, and Russian empires forced the Allies to develop a considerable amount of imperial propaganda, in order to ensure loyalty among their colonial subjects.
This map of the world was designed by Wellington House, one of the main producers of British imperial propaganda targeted at British colonials from the Indians to the Boers. They also directed their propaganda towards areas such as the neutral Dutch East Indies, Siam, and China, from where anti-British and German-sponsored revolutionary and pan-Islamic activities were spread to the British Indies. The English map was translated into Arabic, Malay, and Chinese and was distributed by the British Colonial Office to the Strait Settlements, Hong Kong, British India, Ceylon, Nigeria, Uganda, Jamaica, and other places at the end of 1916.