1869 Survey of India Map of Central Asia w/ Manuscript Spycraft

[Turkestan with the adjoining portions of the British and Russian territories.] - Main View

1869 Survey of India Map of Central Asia w/ Manuscript Spycraft


A remarkable survival: an in-house Indian Survey map compiling manuscript results from contemporaneous exploration.


[Turkestan with the adjoining portions of the British and Russian territories.]
  1869 (dated)     42.5 x 58 in (107.95 x 147.32 cm)     1 : 2027520


This monumental c. 1869 British intelligence map from the height of the Great Game details the southern frontier of the Russian Empire in Asia, extending southwards to the British sphere of influence in Afghanistan, the Punjab and Kashmir. This represented the primary theatre of the Great Game - the struggle for control in Central Asia between Russia and the British Empire. The map includes numerous manuscript annotations and updates including records of George Hayward's ill-fated reconnaissance (spy) mission into the Pamirs.
A Closer Look
The western part of the map reaches as far as the Aral Sea and Kashmar, formerly Torshīz (شیز) in Persia. The eastern limits of the map are dominated by the Chinese Empire. The lands covered are today divided between Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan across the center, Kyrgyzstan in the east, Tajikistan in the southeast, and Turkmenistan in the southwest. This represented the primary theatre of The Great Game - the struggle for control in Central Asia between Russia and the British Empire.
Not Intended for Publication
The map is a photozincographic executed in Dehra Dun by the Survey of India then under the leadership of J. T. Walker. The process, favored for speed and economy, sacrificed certain elements of quality: creases in the original are evident in this copy, for example. Such maps were not intended for commercial use, however, and such flaws were acceptable when a map was time sensitive. Consequently, survey maps thus reproduced were often intended for use in the gathering and governmental dissemination of new geographical information, often for espionage and military intelligence. This certainly seems to be the case with this example. Printed in 1868, the map bears manuscript notations that place the map's use in the next year, or 1870 at the latest.
The Russian Push into Central Asia
The map captures the peak of Russian expansionism in Central Asia. The manuscript additions and coloring highlights three specific areas. In the south, bordered in red, is the British sphere of influence in northern India, inclusive of parts of what are now Pakistan and Nepal. Kashmir is shown as well. In the northern portions of the map, yellow and green hand color marks the limits of the Sirdaria District (Sirdaryo Region of Uzbekistan) and the Semirechensk District (Semirechyenskaya Oblast, now southeastern Kazakhstan and northeastern Kyrgyzstan.)
This is the region of central Uzbekistan along the left bank of the Syr Darya River. Most of the region is desert, as is accurately indicated on the map. In 1873, much of this area - notably the Zarafshan valley in the Kyzylkum desert (Kizil Kim on the map) would be made a Russian protectorate according to a treaty signed in Qarshi. This map was produced at the time this was being made a fait accompli.
The Semirechyenskaya District
This region was part of the Khanate of Kokand (1709 - 1876.) Weakened by civil war, the Khanate fell prey to Russia. Semirechyenskaya was assimilated into Russia in 1854; Tashkent seized in 1865; and Khujand in 1867. Kokand became a Russian vassal state in 1868, and Russian control over the region was formally recognized in the 1881 Treaty of Saint Petersburg between Russia and China. All of this was well in motion at the time this map was produced, and it was likely called for expressly to analyze new data coming to light with respect to this strategic area.
The Hayward Expeditions
Pencil notations mark the 1868 and 1869 journeys of ill-fated English explorer George Jonas Whitaker Hayward (c. 1839 - 1870). The detail part of his efforts to find the source of the Oxus River (Amu Darya), and to explore the Pamir Mountains. He was so tasked by Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (1810 - 1895), who despite the apolitical aspirations of the RGS was himself on Britain's India Council and a known Russophobe. Thus, Hayward's mission to the Pamirs likely had a strong political motivation - or at the very least, Hayward was canny enough to know that Rawlinson would be likely to back his expedition on account of those motivations.

Uncolored pencil notations trace Hayward's journey to Ladakh and onwards to Kashgaria, and then his mapping of the Yarkand River. It marks his arrival in Kashgaria and Yarkand as well as his path through the Kun Lun and Karakoram Mountains.

Hayward's next, November 1869 journey north through the Himalayas is also shown, marking his trek - with almost no provisions or gear in the dead of winter - to Gilgit and then to the Yasin Valley. This was as far as he got before being convinced it was impossible to proceed through the Hindu Kush until the summer thaw. (His last, fatal attempt to retrace this journey in 1870 is NOT shown, and his death in July of that year is not noted on the map. Thus it appears likely that this map was produced an annotated no later than July of 1870.
Updates To The Map
A rectangular area between Qarshi and the Pamir Steppe has been marked off in blue colored pencil, and within that area on the map are numerous notations - highlights in red colored pencil, placename changes and additions in pencil, and more finalized corrections made in ink. The changes include an extension of the mountain region on the northeastern bank of the Amu Darya (Oxus) River, several additional/relocated rivers, and corrected positions of towns. The altitudes of several peaks are also noted in pen. Included among these notations is the Iron Gate Defile, a narrow mountain pass between Balkh and Samarkand. It breaks up the mountains which extend from the Hisar range south towards the Amu Darya. This was an important pass going back to ancient times, when it was used as the passage between Bactria and Sogdia. Even today, its exact location is debatable.

The printed map in this area is marked 'Unexplored.' The notations here - some in the same hand as marked the Hayward expeditions - are thus adding and correcting data in a little-known area of high political and strategic importance, in a narrow window of time during which significant changes were occurring (no earlier than 1869, no later than spring of 1870.)
The map bears the bookplate of British businessman and Conservative Party politician Sir Charles Cayzer, 1st Baronet (1843 - 1916). He was employed between 1868 and 1873 as a shipping agent in Bombay before returning to London. He founded his own shipping business in 1877, which traded between India and the UK, and eventually became a founding partner in the Clan steamship line. His interest in Turkestan may have been peripheral to his trading interests, but it is not at all clear how or why Cayzer would have come into this map. Perhaps he was an early collector?
The Great Game
'The Great Game' was a diplomatic confrontation between the British and Russian Empires over Afghanistan and other territories in Central and Southern Asia. The conflict, rooted in long-standing animosity between Russia and Britain, revolved around Afghanistan, which, while lacking significant resources of its own, was strategically situated. For its part, Russia feared Britain was making commercial and military inroads into Central Asia, an area long within the sphere of influence of St. Petersburg. Britain, conversely, feared Russia making gains in India, 'the jewel in the crown' of British Asia. The escalating tensions led to several wars and proxy wars: The First Anglo-Afghan War (1839 - 1842), the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845 - 1846), the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848 - 1849), and the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878 - 1880), along with the Russian annexations of Khiva, Bukhara, and Kokand. Then as now, Afghanistan proved a grinding stone upon which the world's great empires diminished themselves, none achieving a definitive victory despite committing staggering resources. The Great Game 'ended' on September 10, 1895 with the signing of the Pamir Boundary Commission Protocols, which stabilized the border between Afghanistan and the Russian Empire - but well into the 20th century the British were well aware the conflict remained. Regarding the attitude of Afghans to the British and to the Russians, the general assumption of the British was that 'Some will fight for us, some against us, but all will fight.'
Photo-zincography and helio-zincography
Photo-zincography and helio-zincography are two very similar reprographic processes originally made famous by their use by the British Ordnance Survey. In 1859, photo-zincography was developed relatively simultaneously by John Walter Osborne in Australia and by two soldiers at the Ordnance Survey in Southampton, Captain Alexander de Courcy Scott and Lance-Corporal Rider, who were working under the command of Colonel Henry James, who immediately took credit for the innovation. Essentially, photo-zincography is a reproductive process that employed the use of a glass photographic negative that would then be used to create a carbon positive print which was then transferred to a zinc plate. Helio-zincography, while essentially the same process, eliminated the need for the carbon positive print by placing the negative directly on the zinc plate.
Publication History and Census
This photozincograph was executed in Dehra Dun in 1868 by the Survey of India Office, as a government publication intended for use in-house. We can identify five other examples of this map in institutional collections: the New York Public Library, the University of Melbourne, the British Library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and the Bibliotheek Universiteit van Amsterdam have examples with and without the title present.


Survey of India (1767 - Present) is India's central engineering agency in charge of mapping and surveying the country. It was founded in 1767 by Major James Rennell, who took the post of first Surveyor General, with the mission to map and consolidate the territories of the British East India Company. The Survey undertook the Great Trigonometrical Survey between 1802 and 1852 in an attempt to accurately measure the Indian Subcontinent - considered one of the greatest feats of mapping of all time. It also sponsored clandestine surveys, at times disguised as Buddhist pilgrims, to infiltrate and map Tibet, then a closed country. With India's independence in 1947, the Survey was folded into the new Indian government, which it remains part of to this day. More by this mapmaker...

James Thomas Walker CB FRS (December 1, 1826 – February 16, 1896) was an Anglo-Indian Surveyor General of India. He was born at Cannanore, the son of John Walker of the Madras civil service and educated in Wales and at the military college of the East India Company. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Bombay Engineers and served in a number of campaigns in the Second Anglo-Sikh War. From 1849 to 1853 he took part in a reconnaissance of the frontier of Peshawar, and served as field-engineer during the Indian mutiny in 1857, during which his exploits (destroying the gates of a fortress, setting off gunpowder charges with his musket, for example) earned him his promotion to captain. Following the mutiny he resumed work on the Indus survey, before being appointed to the Great Trigonometrical Survey in 1860. In March 1861 he would become superintendent of the Survey, completing his surveys with astounding accuracy, and undertaking revisions of earlier surveys to increase precision. In 1878 he became Surveyor General of India, retiring at the rank of lieutenant-general in 1883. Among his achievements as Surveyor General was his remarkable openness to the trade of geographical data with the Russians, at the height of Britain's 'Great Game' rivalry with that empire. As a token of this cooperation, Walker - already a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society since 1859 - would be made a member of the Russian Geographical Society in 1868. Learn More...

George Jonas Whitaker Hayward (c. 1839 - July 18, 1870) was an English explorer during the Great Game period. He is known to have been born to a land agent near Leeds, was educated at the Forest School in north London, and in 1859 was made an ensign in the British Army. He was stationed in Multan, India (now Pakistan) with the 89th Foot. Though he was commissioned in 1863, he would leave the army two years later. He surfaced in England in 1868, petitioning the Royal Geographical Society to be hired as an explorer in Central Asia. Perhaps to his surprise, the Society supplied him with money and kit, with instructions to survey the Pamir Mountains. He was the only explorer during the Great Game to be funded by the Society. At precisely the same time that Britain was consolidating its hold on India, and Russia was exploding into Central Asia, Hayward was sent to map out the unexplored and formidable terrain between the two empires, then governed by lawless tribes and murderous despots. His travels took him to Kashgaria in an attempt to explore the mountains from the northeast; deterred from that route, he instead explored the course of the Yarkand River, the Kun Lan and the Karakoram mountains. Following on the heels of this journey, Hayward in 1869 made an attempt northwards through the Himalayas, via the Yasin valley; there he passed through a war zone between Hindu Kashmiris and Muslim Dardistan, witnessing Kashmiri atrocities about which he published on his return to India. The political fallout from his criticism of a British ally and vassal would lead Hayward to sever his association with the Royal Geographical Society.

In 1870 Hayward again attempted to cross the mountains via the Yasin Valley, proceeding to the Darkot Pass. Just short of reaching the Oxus river and the Pamir Mountains, he was attacked and murdered on July 18, 1870. It is not known who was behind the killing. The two main suspects were Aman ul-Mulk, in whose Kafiristan domain Hayward was then traveling, or the Maharaja of Kashmir (for revenge for Hayward's revelations of Kashmiri atrocities in Dardistan.) Learn More...


Very good. Photozincograph print on four sheets, dissected and mounted on linen for folding, with marbled end paper. Contemporary wash and outline color, manuscript pencil notation showing travelers' routes and geographical corrections.


OCLC 271872794.