1917: July 6
T.E. Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia post World War I, was a British intelligence officer with knowledge of Arab affairs who was posted to Arabia to support an emir of Mecca against the Ottomans. He also made maps of the relatively unknown area of Arabia and Sinai in 1914, which held immense strategic value for Allied efforts in the Palestine against the Ottoman Empire.
After a year of effective guerilla war against the Ottomans, on July 6 1917, Lawrence and his Arab rebel allies captured Aqaba in Jordan, which aided British forces in Palestine by effectively isolating the Ottoman forces in Medina. Only two Arab soldiers were killed, compared to the 600 Arab prisoners of which 300 were killed after surrender. Its position on the Sinai enabled further Arab military operations into Syria and Jordan, as well as the British march on Jerusalem.
Lawrence of Arabia’s story inspired the iconic film, which, while it took narrative liberties, made T.E. Lawrence a household name and a Romantic figure.