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,[3] where he read classics. He served in the army in the Punjab in World War I, and joined the Indian Civil Service in 1919.[4]

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:


  • 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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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