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New Records on the Travel Round the Globe
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, in 1876 the United States held a Centennial Exhibition in the same city. The Foreign Office of the late Qing court authorized the Commercial Tax Office for the Western Countries to arrange the Chinese display at the exposition. Li Gui (1842–1903), a secretary at the Customs Office, was dispatched to the United States with a delegation to assist in the arrangements. On his journey he also visited England, France, and other countries. After his ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Four Sons of Nawrūz Khan of Lalpoora
This photograph of four sons of Nowruz Khān, ruler of Lalpura, Afghanistan, is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The young men are wearing handsome traditional Afghan garments and pointed shoes called paizaar, usually adorned with gold-thread embroidery. The photographer, John Burke (circa 1843–1900), accompanied the Peshawar Valley Field Force during part of the war, and became one of the first photographers to take pictures of Afghanistan’s people, rather than simply of military personnel. The khan was ...
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Ali Masjid and the British Camp, 1878
This photograph of the British camp at Ali Masjid is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Ali Masjid is located in the narrowest part of the Khyber Pass, and was the first location captured by General Sir Samuel Browne (1824–1901) on his march with the Peshawar Valley Field Force towards Kabul at the start of war. The battle took place on November 21, 1878. Browne’s victorious British and Indian troops faced the Afghan army and tribesmen led ...
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Captured Guns at Ali Masjid
This photograph of artillery pieces captured by British forces in the Battle of Ali Masjid is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. In the battle, which took place in November 1878, a British and Indian force led by General Sir Samuel Browne (1824–1901) won a victory over the Afghan Army and tribesmen led by Gholam Hyder Khan. Browne captured the fort at Ali Masjid and then marched to Kabul, prompting the Afghan amir, Sher ʻAlī Khān (1825–79 ...
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Landi Kotal
This photograph of Landi Kotal is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Landi Kotal is a small town at the western edge of the Khyber Pass that traditionally marks the entrance to Afghanistan. It is the highest point along the pass. Pictured here is the encampment of the 12,000-strong Peshawar Valley Field Force, under General Sir Samuel Browne (1824–1901), as it crossed the Khyber Pass on the march towards Kabul at the start of the war. The ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Landi Kotal Pass
This photograph of the Landi Kotal Pass is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Pictured are members of the Queens’s Own Madras Sappers and Miners of the Peshawar Valley Field Force inspecting the new road through the Khyber Pass that was constructed by the British during their march to Kabul at the start of the conflict. British forces had to travel through the Landi Kotal Pass to reach Jalālābād, the first major town on the Afghan side of ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Pipers Hill, Jalālābād
This photograph of Pipers Hill in Jalālābād is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Jalālābād was occupied by the British and Indian Peshawar Valley Field Force during its march towards Kabul in 1878 at the start of the war. The occupation was lengthy but unremarkable and passed without major armed clashes. One of several tribesmen in the foreground is digging with a pick, manned sentry posts are visible in the middle distance, and Jalālābād appears in the background at ...
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The Amir’s Garden, Jalālābād
This photograph of the Afghan amir’s garden in Jalālābād is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The site of modern Jalālābād was chosen by Zahīr al-Dīn Muhammad Bābur (1483-1530), the first Mughal emperor. Building began in 1560 under his grandson, Emperor Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar (1542–1605), who oversaw the construction of numerous gardens in the city. Many Mughal gardens were inspired by the Persian decorative style, chahar bagh (“four gardens,” a design that divided the garden into ...
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Buddhist Tope at Sphola
This photograph of the Buddhist tope (stupa) above the Afghan village of Sphola, about 25 kilometers from Jamrūd, is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. This ruined stupa features a dome resting upon a three-tiered base. Sphola sits in a ravine located midway between Ali Masjid and Landi Kotal in the Khyber Pass. The stupa may have been constructed towards the end of the Kushan Empire or soon after (third to fifth centuries). It is the most complete Buddhist ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Suffain Koh Panorama
This panoramic photograph of the Suffain Koh or Safed Koh (meaning White Mountain) range is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The Safed Koh range reaches up to 4,671 meters, creating a natural border between eastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. A range of smaller hills runs across the middle distance of the photograph, while the Safed Koh looms behind them. The British military camp can be seen stretching across the plain in the foreground. The Second Anglo-Afghan War ...
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From the Khyber to Shuttugardun
This photograph of a rocky landscape beneath the Safed Koh range is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The caption mentions “Shuttugardun,” which is probably a reference to Shotur Gardan (meaning camel’s neck), a small town in Kandahar Province. The Safed Koh range dominates the background, while in the foreground signs of agricultural activity are visible. The right side of the photograph shows a receding layer of short stone walls. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 ...
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Panorama of an Afghan City
This panoramic photograph of an unidentified Afghan city is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The city is in the middle frame, flanked on both sides by rocky hills, and with mountains rising in the distance. The right frame shows a sentry tower atop a hill and a man with his mule stopping for rest beneath it. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian influence in Afghanistan ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Shamsher Bridge and Masjid, Kabul
This photograph of Shah-do-Shamsher Bridge and the Shah-do-Shamsher Masjid (mosque) in Kabul is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Shah-do-Shamsher means “king of two swords” in Dari. Shamsher Bridge crosses the Kabul River, which is the main waterway through the city. Except during the summer, the flow of the river is minimal. An Afghan soldier overlooks the river with the bridge in the background, while several people take shelter from the sun in the shadows of a nearby building ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Kabul River, Old Bridge, Bala Hissar in the Distance
This photograph of the Kabul River and one of five bridges that crossed the river at the time is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The river, a tributary of the Indus, is seen running through the center of the photograph. Soldiers stand atop the bridge, while people walk along the road in the distance. In the right foreground people sit or squat on the bridge; behind them soldiers ride by on horseback. Bala Hissar (High Fort) is in ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Panorama of the Bala Hissar
This panoramic photograph of the Bala Hissar (High Fort) in Kabul is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The British envoy to Kabul, Sir Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari (1841–79), was murdered inside the fort in September 1879, triggering a general uprising and the second phase of the war. The Kōh-e Shēr Darwāzah (lion door) Mountain rises behind the fort, while the ancient walls with battlements and sentry towers trail off into the distance on both sides. The fortress ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Camp on Shagai Heights
This photograph of the British camp on the Shagai Plateau is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The ascent to the Shagai Plateau begins shortly after the entrance to the Khyber Pass from the southeast (at Peshawar, in present-day Pakistan). The encampment of the conical tents of the Peshawar Valley Field Force stretches off into the horizon. The camels seen among the tents were used by the British and Indian troops to transport supplies and equipment. Smaller hills in ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Guns Captured at the Peiwar Kotal. Parked at Kohat
This photograph of captured Afghan artillery pieces at Peiwar Kotal is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Mobile field guns of various sizes are arrayed in front of a line of British tents. In the foreground is a row of trees, probably watered from the irrigation ditch alongside. Peiwar Kotal was the site of a battle in late November 1878 between British forces under Sir Frederick Roberts (1832–1914), who outmaneuvered Afghan forces under an unknown commander. The result ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Means of Carrying the Wounded
This photograph of a makeshift transport for a wounded British (Indian) soldier is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Two soldiers wearing sun-shielding pith helmets stand at the front of the photograph. They flank two Afghan camel drivers who likely are escorting the wounded soldier. The soldier’s head is swathed in bandages and he lies on a platform atop another dromedary camel. Because of their greater endurance in the harsh Afghan climate, camels were generally preferable to horses ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
An Afghan Water Mill in Afghanistan
This photograph of an Afghan water mill is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The mill, rectangular shaped with a thatched roof, was probably operated on a part-time basis by the family pictured in the photograph. The water mill is a traditional design with a small horizontal mill-house built of stone, or perhaps mud bricks. The men look directly at the camera, but a woman wearing a chador partially screens her face for modesty. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Bridge Across the Indus at Attock
This photograph of a pontoon bridge across the Indus River is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Pontoon bridges such as this one, formed from boats lashed together by various materials, were easily assembled and disassembled. This pontoon bridge was built near the town of Attock in Punjab Province, in present-day Pakistan, and likely was used by the British Army to ferry supplies and troops across the Indus. Laborers, fishermen, travelers, soldiers, and pack animals are seen in the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Kohat Pass
This photograph of Afridi tribesmen at the Kohat Pass is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The Kohat Pass links the town of Kohat with Peshawar further to north. The pass is the home territory of the Pashtun Afridi tribe, who were regarded by the British authorities as a strongly independent and “warlike” tribe. The Afridi men shown here are observing the photographer, who might have been John Burke. He was rejected as an official photographer but accompanied the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Army Signaling
This photograph of British troops signaling is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Signaling in the British Army at that time was performed by the Corps of the Royal Engineers. They used electric telegraphy in regions that had telegraph lines. Hand-held flags, fires for nighttime communications, and different types of non-electrical semaphores were used for campaigns in less-developed regions, such as Afghanistan. The seated soldier who is facing right uses a telescope to view the horizon; other soldiers operate ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Engagement in the Khost Country from a Drawing
This photograph of a drawing of a military engagement near Khost (now Khowst), Afghanistan, is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The identity of the artist is unknown. The image appears to show a skirmish in late 1878–January 1879 that involved the Kurram Valley Field Force fighting against unidentified Afghan adversaries. In the foreground are massed British cavalry and dragoons (mounted infantry), while ahead of them infantrymen fire upon the enemy in the distance. A section of the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Mule Battery
This photograph of a battery of mules is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Mules historically were used by armies to transport supplies in difficult terrain and, occasionally, as mobile firing platforms for smaller cannons. Mules were also used to tow heavier wheeled field guns through treacherous mountain trails in Afghanistan. One of these slightly larger field guns sits in the left foreground of the photograph, surrounded by sepoys (Indian soldiers in the British Army). The Second Anglo-Afghan War ...
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Elephant and Mule Battery ("Dignity & Impudence")
This photograph of an elephant and mule battery is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The mule team on the left side of the photograph would have hauled supplies or towed the small field gun, while the elephants towed the larger gun. The men in the photograph are a mix of British soldiers and Indian sepoys. The group kneeling around the smaller, muzzle-loaded field gun is preparing to fire after the soldier at front left has used the ramrod ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Elephant Battery on the March
This photograph is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Elephants were commonly used as shock cavalry in the front lines of military campaigns throughout South and Southeast Asia until the end of the 19th century, when the introduction of advanced artillery and Gatling guns made them vulnerable to enemy fire. The British Indian Army, like their Mughal imperial predecessors, used war elephants to transport large quantities of cargo, but the main advantage of the elephant in late-19th-century military tactics ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Mule Battery on the March
This photograph of a mule battery on the march is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The British soldiers facing the camera are wearing pith helmets, which were made of spongy plant tissues, or occasionally of cork, and provided light-weight protection from the sun. The mules are carrying dissembled field guns, including wheels, barrels, and other parts. Mules had considerable advantages as pack animals in the rough terrain, being hardy, sure footed, and habituated to the altitude. The Second ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Afghan Trophies, Peiwar Kotal
This photograph of a pile of military "trophies" after the Battle of Peiwar Kotal in November 1878 is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Peiwar Kotal was the site of a battle in late 1878, between British forces under Sir Frederick Roberts (1832–1914), who outmaneuvered Afghan forces under an unknown commander. The result was a British victory and seizure of the Peiwar Kotal Pass. A young boy is perched atop the pile; he leans against a huge bass ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Group of Afghans
This photograph of a group of Afghan men is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Most of the men are armed with rifles or jezails (heavy Afghan muskets) and wear distinctive turbans. Pashtuns generally leave a length of turban cloth hanging down, so these men are probably from a smaller ethnic group. One lone exception has no head covering at all, and there is a Sikh soldier sitting on a chair in the center of the photograph. He wears ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Group of Afghans
This photograph of a group of Afghan men is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Most of the men are armed with jezails (elongated heavy muskets) and long daggers and wear distinctive turbans. Pashtuns generally leave a length of turban cloth hanging down, so these men are probably from a smaller ethnic group. The lone exception is the Sikh soldier standing in front of a tent at the back center of the photograph. He wears a British Army uniform ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Theatrical Group, Kandahar
This photograph of a theatrical group is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The members of the group are dressed up in different comic costumes. A man on the far left side of the portrait is pantomiming a mother holding a rather unhealthy looking “child.” Other soldiers are dressed as Afghan tribesmen, Sikhs, beggars, jesters, and a vendor of “Camel hot pies.” The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Ayub’s Ambassadors from Herat, 1881
This photograph of the ambassadors appointed by Ghazi Mohammad Ayūb Khān (1857–1914) is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Ayūb Khān was the son of the deposed Afghan amir, Sher ʻAlī Khān (1825–79), and cousin of the future amir, Abd al-Raḥmān Khān (1844–1901). He won a significant Afghan victory at the Battle of Maiwand in July 1880, only to be decisively defeated by Sir Frederick Roberts (1832–1914) at the Battle of Kandahar two months later ...
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A Baluch Beggar, "Dato Obolum Belisario"
This photograph of an elderly Baluch (Baluchistan is a region in present-day southwest Pakistan and southeast Iran) is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Despite the title, it is unclear whether the man is truly a beggar or, perhaps more likely, a Sufi fakir or dervish who would have been regarded as a holy man and relied solely on alms for his livelihood. He wears a pair of worn-out boots, a long quilted coat, and a woolen shawl and ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Group of Fakirs, Kandahar
This photograph of a group of fakirs or dervishes is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The term fakir sometimes refers to Hindu holy men, but in this context it is understood to describe a Sufi Muslim holy man, who practices an ascetic form of Islam with a stress on poverty and personal devotion to God. The Sufi men in this photo resemble beggars, and in fact many fakirs begged for alms as a means of basic subsistence. The ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Afghan Horse Dealers
This photograph of a pair of Afghan horse dealers is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The men in the image, by Sir Benjamin Simpson (1831–1923), both wear fine turbans. The one on the right has pointed shoes called paizaar, and his younger companion has two small leather pouches on his belt, probably holding money or ammunition. Simpson was an avid amateur photographer who spent many years in the Indian Medical Service and served as deputy surgeon general ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Group of Hazaras
This photograph of a group of Hazaras is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The origins of the Hazara people of Afghanistan are uncertain. One theory holds that they are descended from the Mongol tribes who invaded Afghanistan in the 13th century. They are predominantly Ithnā'ashariyyah (Twelver Shia Muslims) who speak a Persian dialect containing words of Mongolian origin. The Hazaras are traditionally nomads from the highland regions, who move their flocks of sheep, goats, and camels around ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Group of Timuris
This image of a group of Timuri tribesmen is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The Timuris are considered a subset of the nomadic-pastoral Aimaq peoples and live primarily in eastern Iran and western Afghanistan. They speak a distinct language that draws on Indo-European and Indo-Iranian roots, but most Timuris would also understand Farsi. Small groups live near the Khyber Pass, and are relatively integrated into Pashtun culture. The four Timuri men shown here are well-dressed in traditional chapans ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Group of Pārsīwans
This image of a group of Parsiwans is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Parsiwan, or “Persian speaker,” refers specifically to Afghans speaking Dari, or Afghan Persian, as opposed to Farsi, or Iranian Persian, although the two languages are mutually comprehensible. Most Parsiwans live in western Afghanistan in and around Herat. The men here are dressed in traditional style, with fine embroidery on their overcoats and pointed shoes. This photograph was taken in the same location and from the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Sir Bolan, an Achakzai Chief
This portrait of a seated Achakzai chief and five of his associates is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The Achakzai are a Pashtun tribal subgroup, residing primarily in eastern Afghanistan, between Quetta and Kandahar. Most of the tribe took up arms against the British Raj when its rule reached the Afghan border. Little is known about this chief’s background, his allegiance during the war, or what role he might have played in it. The Second Anglo-Afghan War ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Pomegranate Sellers, Kokaran Road, Kandahar
This photograph of pomegranate sellers in Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The merchants are clustered about the side of a main road. Kandahar, located in southern Afghanistan, is renowned for its pomegranate production, and the country’s pomegranates, which have been a staple crop in the region for centuries, are considered among the best in the world. Pomegranate trees are indigenous to the region from Iran to the Himalayas and have been cultivated in the Mediterranean ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Kandahar from Hazratji Tomb
This photograph of Kandahar, taken from the Hazratji Tomb, is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Located north of the center of the city and surrounded by the tombs of 19th-century Afghan rulers, the tomb is a shrine to Hazratji, a famous Kandahari saint. That his tomb is seven meters long attests to his reputation for holiness. The other tombs have tall marble stones at each end and are decorated with black and white pebbles. The photograph shows the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Plain, North and East of Kandahar
This photograph of a plain located northeast of Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Foothills are visible in the distance. The buildings and other objects in the photograph are not identified, but the irregular pillars could well be tombstones. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian influence in Afghanistan, invaded the country from British India. The first phase of the war ended in May 1879 ...
Contributed by Library of Congress