Olaf Caroe

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Sir Olaf Kirkpatrick Kruuse Caroe KCSI KCIE (15 November 1892 – 23 November 1981) was an administrator in British India. He later became a writer on the Middle East and Asia.


He was Governor of the North-West Frontier Province, from 1946 to just before the Partition of India in 1947. Subject to accusations that he was too close to the Muslim League,[1] he encountered opposition from Congress Party politicians,[2] and was replaced in mid-1947 by Rob Lockhart as Governor.

Son of the architect William Douglas Caroe, and Grace Desborough Rendall, he was educated at Winchester College and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read classics. He served in the army in the Punjab in World War I, and joined the Indian Civil Service in 1919.[3]

He subsequently held a number of positions in the Indian Political Service, where he was influential in foreign policy, and an active administrator in North-West Frontier Province.

After returning from India in 1947, he wrote extensively. His strategic ideas proved influential:

Political offices
Preceded by
Ronald Evelyn Leslie Wingate
Chief Commissioner of Balochistan
Succeeded by
Arthur Edward Broadbent Parsons
Preceded by
Sir George Cunningham
Governor of the North-West Frontier Province
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Lockhart


  • Wells of Power. London: Macmillan. 1951. 
  • Soviet Empire: The Turks of Central Asia and Stalinism. 1953. 
    • Reprinted with an additional Introduction. London: Macmillan. 1967. 
  • The Pathans 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957. Macmillan and Company, London 1958
    • Reprinted with a Foreword and an Epilogue on Russia. Karachi: OUP. 1983.  ISBN 0-19-577221-0
  • From Nile to Indus: Economics and Security in the Middle East. 1960. 
  • "The Geography and Ethnics of India's Northern Frontiers". The Geographical Journal 126 (3). 1960. 


  • Peter John Brobst, The Future of the Great Game: Sir Olaf Caroe, India's Independence, and the Defense of Asia (University of Akron Press, 2005)


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