Map of the Acquisitions of Russia in Europe and Central Asia


The Russian threat to the British Raj near the end of the Great Game.

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This fascinating map of the Russian Empire was published in London by Edward Stanford around 1896. The image depicts the majority of the continents of Europe and Asia and is careful to include England (upper left) and India (lower right). Emphasis is shown on the territorial acquisitions of Russia, starting with the Tsardom of Peter the Great. Of particular interest are the recent developments in the southeast, between the Chinese Empire and Afghanistan.

The text in the upper right highlights the population and territorial growth of Russia, using provocative comparisons like “her acquisitions from Persia are equal in extent to England.” The map was crafted deliberately to incite a response among the predominantly English audience during the Great Game with Russia. Described by the Ohio State University Library;

“‘The Great Game’ was a political and diplomatic confrontation that existed for most of the 19th century between the British Empire and the Russian Empire over Afghanistan and neighboring territories in Central and South Asia. Russia was fearful of British commercial and military inroads into Central Asia, and Britain was fearful of Russia adding “the jewel in the crown”, India, to the vast empire that Russia was building in Asia.

This resulted in an atmosphere of distrust and the constant threat of war between the two empires. Britain made it a high priority to protect all the approaches to India, and the “great game” is primarily how the British did this in terms of a possible Russian threat.”

Note, the discrepancy on the left side of the image is a result of the cover affecting the scanner.


Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1896

Author: Edward Stanford

Sheet Width (in): 25.50

Sheet Height (in): 19.50

Condition: B

Condition Description: Case map dissected into 18 sections and mounted on linen, affixed to original stiff boards. Several areas of separation at fold intersection, with the upper left panel having separated entirely from the covers. Repaired on verso with linen tape, but a small gap remains visible.


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