The phrase "ancient Near East" denotes the 19th-century distinction between Near East and Far East as global regions of interest to the British Empire. The distinction began during the Crimean War. The last major exclusive partition of the east between these two terms was current in diplomacy in the late 19th century, with the Hamidian Massacres of the Armenians and Assyrians by the Ottoman Empire in 1894–1896 and the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895. The two theatres were described by the statesmen and advisors of the British Empire as "the Near East" and "the Far East". Shortly after, they were to share the stage with Middle East, which came to prevail in the 20th century and continues in modern times.