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R.G.S.: The Sulimani Mountains on the Afghan Frontier of British India

Map: IC1759
Cartographer: R.G.S.
Title: The Sulimani Mountains on the Afghan Frontier of British India
Date: 1879
Published: London
Width: 17 inches / 44 cm
Height: 21 inches / 54 cm
Map ref: IC1759
Uncommon map of the Sulaiman Mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The map was published mid-way throught the Second Anglo-Afghan War, a military conflict between the British Raj and Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880. Which in turn was part of The Great Game, a fight for political and territorial control between the British and Russian Empires over Afghanistan and the surrounding Central Asian countries which lasted almost the entire 19th Century.

This detailed lithographic map encompasses the Afghan-Pakistan border . It extends to show cities Kabul (Kabool) , Peshawar (Peshawur) and Kandahar (Afghanistan) and Dera Ghazi Khan and Khuzdar (Pakistan). The River Indus flows through the right-hand side of the map. All of which was considered British Territory.

This piece is quite possibly one of the most accurate and astonishingly detailed 19th Century maps of the mountain system. It would have originally been published to illustrate a report titled “The Mountain Passes on the Afghan Frontier of British India” by British explorer and Sir Clements Roberts Markham (1830-1916). The paper discusses the importance of the territory from a British point-of-view, as well as physical properties of the mountain range and the river systems that surround it. This example bears the imprint of “Stanford’s Geographical Establishment”, owned by Edward Stanford (1827-1904), successful London-based map seller and publisher.

Explorer Markham had worked in the India Office from 1857. This was a British governmental department overseeing the British Provinces in India, and allowed him to travel extensively. He remained in India for ten years until he was selected to accompany Sir Robert Napier as expedition geographer on a military excursion in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).