Map of Afghaunistan, Cabul, the Punjab, Rajpootana, and the River Indus
Detailed fold out map of Afghanistan published during the waning months of the First Anglo-Afghan War.
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It would be reasonable to ask the question – “What was an army of 21,000 Indian troops, commanded by a private company under a monopoly granted by the British Crown, doing invading Afghanistan?” The answer, unsurprisingly, is quite complicated and inextricably linked to protection of the jewel in the crown of the British Empire – India.
The Great Game was a series of political maneuvers in the 19th century between Russia and Britain for control over much of Central Asia. Russia was ascendant, building upon its empire and attempting to gain deep-water ports, while Britain was focused on preserving the approaches to India and providing a buffer zone over which it can retain control. This control, exercised by the East India Company, was exacted in 1839 as Indian troops under white English commanders invaded Afghanistan in order to install a puppet regime friendly to the empire. Kabul was quickly captured, but civil unrest persisted, and in January of 1841, the British retreated through the winter snows of the Hindu Kush. Of the ~16,000 members of the company (~4,500 troops and ~12,000 “camp followers”), only a handful survived the retreat, the others having been killed in guerrilla actions, taken prisoner, froze or starved. This map was published shortly after the shock was received in London, but before the retribution army had arrived to recapture the city. In the end, it was all for naught – the original emir retook the throne after the British withdrew permanently by the end of 1842.
Publication Date: 1842
Author: James Wyld
Sheet Width (in): 32.50
Sheet Height (in): 23.5
Condition Description: The map is in excellent, mounted on linen and folded into its original covers, which exhibit some loosening and wear. The map is clean and bright, with a strong impression and full margins. A very fine issue.