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Afghanistan Collection

History Archive - Afghanistan Collection

Afghanistan is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia, covered also by the Hindu Kush mountain range. It is bounded on the north by Russian Turkestan, on the west by Persia, and on the east and south by Kashmir and the independent tribes of the North-West Frontier of India and Baluchistan.

The land has historically been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Mauryas, Muslim Arabs, Mongols, British, Soviets, and most recently the United States. The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century.

During the last quarter of the 19th century our knowledge of the country was greatly increased, and its boundaries on the N., E. and S. were strictly delimited. The second Afghan war of 1878-80 afforded an opportunity for the extension of wide geographical surveys on a scientific basis. The Russian-Afghan Boundary Commission of 1884-1886 resulted in the delimitation and mapping of the northern frontier. The Durand agreement of 1893 led to the partition of the Pathan tribes on the southern and eastern frontiers. The Parnir Commission of 1895 settled its north-eastern border. Finally the Perso-Baluch Commission of 1904-1905 defined its western face.

The chief importance of Afghanistan in the 19th century has been due to its position as a buffer state, intervening between the two great empires of Asiatic Russia and British India. In the late 1800's, Afghanistan became the location of the "Great Game" between British India and the Russian Empire. Its border with British India, the Durand Line, was formed in 1893 but it is not recognized by the Afghan government and it has led to strained relations with Pakistan since the latter's independence in 1947. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 the country was free of foreign influence, eventually becoming a monarchy under King Amanullah, until almost 50 years later when Zahir Shah was overthrown and a republic was established.

Authorities.—MacGregor, Gazetteer of Afghanistan (1871); Elphinstone, Account of the Kingdom of Kabul (1809); Ferrier, History of the Afghans (1858); Bellew, Afghanistan and the Afghans (1879); Baber's Memoirs (1844); Kaye, History of the War in Afghanistan (1878); Malleson, History of Afghanistan (1879); Heusman, The Afghan War (1881); Sir H. M. Durand, The First Afghan War (1879); Forbes, The Afghan Wars (1892); Rawlinson, England and Russia in the East (1875); Wyllie, Essays on the External Policy of India (1875); A. C. Yate, England and Russia Face to Face in Asia (1887); C. E. Yate, Northern Afghanistan (1888); Curzon, Problems of the Far East (1894); Robertson, The Kafir of the Hindu Kash (1896); Holdich, Indian Borderland (1901); Thorburn, Asiatic Neighbours (1395): Lord Roberts, Forty-one Years in India (1898); Lady Betty Balfour, Lord Lytton's Indian Administration (1899); Hanna, Second Afghan War (1899); Gray, At the Court of the Amir (1895); Sultan Mohammad Khan, Constitution and Laws of Afghanistan (1900); Life of Abdur Rahman (1900); Angus Hamilton, Afghanistan (1906).


1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 1. pgs. 306-319.

Available Books


Image Name
Hyder Khan, the governor of Ghuznee
Town and citadel of Ghuznee
The town of Roree and the fortress of Bukker, on the Indus
The avenue at Baber's tomb
Surrender of Dost Mahommed Khan, to Sir William Hay Macnachten Bart, at the Entrance into Caubul from Killa-Kazee
The main street in the bazaar at Caubul in the fruit season
Scene of the river Sutledge, near Pauk-Puttun in the Punjaub
The village of Urghundee
Jaunbauz, or Afghaun cavalry, with horse bearing implements for smoking &c.
The wild Pass of Siri-Kajoor
Khoja Padshauh, a Ko-i-staun chief, with his armed retainers
Temple of
Mosque of Goolaum Hoossein Huzrut-jee, a great prophet of the Afghauns, and the tombs of the kings at Kandahar
The approach to the fortress of Kwettah
City of Kandahar, its principle bazaar and citadel, taken from the nakarra khauneh, or royal band room
Caubul, from a burying ground on the mountain ridge, North-East of the city
The tomb of the Emperor Baber
Mahomed Naib Shurreef, a celebrated Kuzzilbach chief of Caubul, and his peshkhidmut, or head attendant
Interior of the city of Kandahar, from the house of the sirdar
Title Page
Mosque and tomb of the emperor sooltaun Mahmood, of Ghuznee
The troops emerging from the narrow part of the defile [in the Koojah Pass]
Oosbegs of Mooraud Bey
The first descent through the Koojah Pass
The city of Candahar
Illustrated Title Page - Dourraunnee chieftains in full armour
The Valley of Maidan
Entrance into the Kojak Pass from Parush
Entrance to the Bolan Pass from Dadur
The Durbar-Khaneh of Shah Shoojah-ool-Moolk, at Caubul
Meerz Fyze, an Oosbeg elchee, or ambassador
Interior of the palace of Shauh Shujah Ool Moolk, Late King of Cabul
The second descent through the Koojah Pass
Gool Mahommed Khaun King of the Ghilgies
Bala Hissar and city of Kabul, with the British cantonments from the
Ko-i-staun foot soldiery in summer costume, actively employed among the rocks
Jugdelluk, the last stand made by General Elphinstone's army in the calamitous retreat
Dost Mahommed King of Caubul and his youngest son
Ghiljie women of the lower orders
Title Page
The encampment at Dadur, with the entrance to the Bolan Pass
Caubul costumes
The fortress and citadal of Ghuznee and the two minars
The third descent of the Koojah Pass
Chief executioner and assistant, of his majesty the late Shah
The opening into the narrow Pass above the Siri Bolan
The Balla Hissar and city of Caubul from the upper part of the Citadel
Afghaun foot soldiers in their winter dress
Encampment of the Kandahar army, under General Nott, outside the walls of Caubul, on the evacuation of Afghaunistaun by the British
View of the mountain Baba-Naunee, called Kutl-Cahor
Fortress of Alimusjid, and the Khybur Pass
Kandahar lady of rank, engaged in smoking
Ladies of Caubul in their in and out-of-door costume
Hawkers of the Ko-i-staun. With the valley of Caubul and mountains of Hindoocoosh


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