Map of Afghanistan and the Adjacent Countries Published by the Authority of the Hon.ble Court of Directors of the East India Company.
30.75 x 25 in (78.105 x 63.5 cm)
1 : 2112000
This is an 1842 Allen map of Afghanistan and its surrounds, showing the theatre of the First Anglo-Afghan War: the first major conflict of ‘The Great Game’ for British control of India. It was printed just four months after the disastrous Retreat from Kabul. Not only are the passes between Kabul and Peshawar shown in detail but the infamous 'Khyber Pass' is labeled clearly. (surpassing other contemporaneous maps of the area ) that it seems clear that the map reflects the best British understanding of Afghanistan’s geography at the time of the conflict.
Scope of the MapThe map extends from the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Kutch northwards to the Emirate of Bukhara, and Badakhshan: it reaches from the endorheic basin of Lake Hamoon in eastern Iran and reaches 'Little Tibet' In the Himalayas, Kashmir, and Lahore. The whole of the map is detailed, but the Indus River Valley and the area between that river and the Hindu Kush are shown with particular granularity. Many cities and the roads connecting them are clearly marked, with hand color delineating the borders between the provinces.
The Exile of Dost MuhammadThe Badakhshan region (here spelled Badakshan) commands the north-central part of the map. It was significant in that following the 1839 occupation of Afghanistan by British it became the home-in-exile of Afghanistan's Amir Dost Muhammad Khan, primarily the city of Kunduz. When Badakhshan was unable to assist Dost Muhammad against the British, he moved on the Emirate of Bukhara, also shown on the map. Afghanistan and Emirate of Bukhara would struggle for Balkh and Badakhshan with Afghanistan succeeding.
The Theater of WarThe geographical spread of what the British refer to as The Disaster in Afghanistan can be found here. All the major cities where actions occurred are shown, with the roads connecting them well detailed: Quetta, Kandahar, Ghazni, Qalat, Kabul and Jalalabad all are shown along with the neighboring villages, passes, and roads. Though the scope of this map is larger than the contemporaneous SDUK maps of Afghanistan, the detail is far sharper and undoubtedly reflects details that were derived from the military action taking place in 1839 and 1840.
The Great Game - the struggle for AfghanistanFrom 1830 until 1895, a political and diplomatic confrontation, known as 'The Great Game', existed between the British Empire and the Russian Empire over Afghanistan and other territories in Central and Southern Asia. 'The Great Game', as it is known, was ignited due to Russian fears that Britain was making commercial and military inroads in Central Asia, while Britain mutually feared Russia adding 'the jewel in the crown' (India) to its vast empire in Asia. Several wars were fought, including the First Anglo-Afghan War in 1838, the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1845, the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1848, and the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1878, along with the Russian annexations of Khiva, Bukhara, and Kokand. Per historians, the Great Game ended on September 10, 1895 with the signing of the Pamir Boundary Commission protocols, which defined the border between Afghanistan and the Russian Empire.
Publication History and CensusThis map is rare, having been published separately to supplement James Atkinson's 1842The Expedition into Affghanistan. We find only seven examples of this 1842 map listed in OCLC, and two separate examples of an 1844 edition. It appears that this second edition was sometimes included in W. H. Allen's A Gazetteer of the Countries Adjacent to India on the North-West although we do not find a digitized example with the map present.
William H. Allen (1788 - 1862? ) was a bookseller and publisher in London, England, whose company (founded around 1835) would develop a special relationship producing maps for the British East India Company, whose offices shared the same street as the publishers' Leadenhall Street address. Nothing is known of his early education, but he was admitted to the London Company of Stationers as a bookseller in 1817 and would become member of a publishing partnership, joining Black, Kingsbury, Parbury and Allen, in 1818. This would evolve into Kingsbury, Parbury, and Allen in 1822, and again into Parbury, Allen, and Co. in 1827. All of these were based in Leadenhall Street.
J. and C. Walker (fl. 1820-95) J. and C. Walker were engravers, draughtsmen and publishers throughout the 19th century. While they are best known for their work for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (S.D.U.K) they also produced much work for the British Admiralty, and on behalf of the British East India Company.
Excellent condition. Dissected and mounted on linen as issued. Original embossed boards removed but present.