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The War of Kabul and Kandahar
Muḥārabah-ʼi Kābul va Qandahar (The war of Kabul and Kandahar) is an account of the First Afghan War (1839–42) by Munshi ʻAbd al-Karīm, an associate of Shāh Shujāʻ, the emir of Afghanistan. Mawlawī Muḥammad ʻAbd al-Karīm was an Indo-Persian historian from Lucknow, India, who was active in the mid-19th century. He was a prolific munshi (writer, secretary, and language teacher) and translator. He rendered into Persian from Arabic such works as Tārīkh al-Khulafā (History of the Caliphs), by al-Sūyūtī (1445–1505) and a history of Egypt by Ibn Iyās ...
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General Hume and Staff at Kandahar, 1881
This photograph of the staff of Major-General Robert Hume at Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Hume led the Southern Afghanistan Field Force and supervised the British withdrawal from Kandahar in April 1881. He is in the center, with a full beard and a sash across his chest. Surrounding him are the staff members who assisted him in coordinating the evacuation, along with two Baluch orderlies. The withdrawal from Kandahar marked the end of the war. The ...
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Medical Officers at Kandahar, 1881
This photograph of 24 medical officers of the Southern Afghanistan Field Force in Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. It is estimated that at least 30 surgeon officers accompanied the field force in 1880 in the fighting that culminated at the Battle of Kandahar. The men pictured here were withdrawn from Kandahar by April 1881. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian influence in Afghanistan ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Natives of Ziarat-e-Hazratji
This image of a group of people at a Muslim shrine is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Ziarat generally means “visit” in Arabic, but here it refers specifically to religious pilgrimage sites found across the Middle East and North Africa and visited by Muslims of all persuasions. The remains of great religious teachers or members of bāyt ʻAlī (the family of ʻAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib, the fourth Muslim caliph) are buried in such shrines. This monument to Hazratji ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Barrack Square, Kandahar, 78th Highlanders
This photograph of the 78th Highlanders at Barrack Square in Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The 78th Highlanders, a Scottish infantry regiment then commanded by Colonel A.E. Warren, did not arrive in Afghanistan until November 1880. Most of the fighting was over by then, as the British victory at the Battle of Kandahar several months earlier was the last major battle of the war. In this photograph, the 78th Highlanders pose for a group portrait ...
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Natives of Kandahar
This photograph of a large group of Kandahar residents is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Kandahar, the second-largest city in Afghanistan, was occupied by the British Southern Afghanistan Field Force from September 1880 until April 1881, when all British forces withdrew from the country. This photograph is taken at a palace zenana (harem) quarters, which clearly were not being used by women at the time, given the presence of a large group of men and boys of different ...
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Tomb of Ahmed Shāh, Kandahar
This photograph of the tomb of Aḥmad Shāh Durrānī (circa 1723–72) is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Aḥmad Shāh Durrānī established the Durrani Empire (1747–1818) and is regarded as the father of the modern Afghan state. His repeated invasions of India greatly extended his domains. His ornate octagonal mausoleum topped by a dome sits in the center of Kandahar and is situated in the back of the Kirka Sharif (Mosque of the Sacred Cloak). The mosque ...
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Signal Tower, Kandahar
This photograph of a ruined building in use as a British Army signal tower in Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Soldiers are seen at various levels of the building, with officers at the top holding a tripod, a telescope, and other devices. The British Army of the 1870s used various signaling technologies, including where possible the telegraph, and heliographic semaphores, which transmitted Morse code by means of sunlight flashed from mirrors. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began ...
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Heyland Cart and Pack Mules
This photograph of a cart and pack mules outside of the Durrani Gate in Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Mules were important pack animals in the often-difficult terrain, valued for their strength and patient, mild temperament. The photograph shows some of the different kinds of pack harnesses. The massive brick walls at the entrance gate to the city are visible in the background. The photograph is by Sir Benjamin Simpson (1831–1923), who captured many scenes ...
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Artillery Square, Kandahar
This photograph of British Army artillery unit in Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. A large citadel, possibly Kandahar Bala Hissar (High Fort), dominates the skyline of the photograph, while the Kirka Sharif (Mosque of the Sacred Cloak) is visible in the left background. British soldiers are encamped across the square, near their light and heavy field guns. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian ...
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Kandahar from Signal Tower
This photograph of Kandahar from the vantage point of a signal tower is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. A section of the city wall starts at the right side of the photograph and stretches out of sight into the left background. The unusually shaped mountain shrouded by haze in the back right holds the Chilzina, a chamber hewn out of the rock that was part of the old Kandahar citadel, accessed by the "Forty Steps" carved in the ...
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Street View, Kandahar
This photograph of a street view of Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. A crowd seems to have gathered to watch the photographer, who is also regarded by a young boy perched on a roof. Shops, houses, and a section of the city wall are visible from this point, which is called Charsu or Char Su. It is where the main routes into Kandahar from the gates in the city walls converged. The photograph was taken during ...
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Street View, Kandahar
This photograph of a street view of Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The crowd of men and young boys seems to have gathered to watch the photographer at work. A street vendor is selling food. His shop is adorned with beautiful traditional embroidered chadors, large scarfs worn by women as a combination of veil, shawl, and head covering. The photograph was taken during the British occupation of Kandahar, which lasted from September 1880 to April 1881 ...
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Street View, by Sir Benjamin Simpson
This photograph of a scene, assumed to be in Kandahar, is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Men and young boys have gathered on both levels of a ruined building and in its courtyard and are observing the photographer. In the foreground is a charpoy (also seen as chaar payee), a bed frame made of woven rope used throughout Afghanistan as an outdoor bed during the hot summer. The photograph most likely was taken during the British occupation of ...
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Courtyard of Wali Sher Ali Khan's Zenana, by Sir Benjamin Simpson
This photograph of the ornately decorated courtyard of a palace in Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The photograph most likely was taken during the British occupation of Kandahar, which lasted from September 1880 to April 1881. It shows the exterior of the zenana, the women’s quarters of the palace of Sher Ali Khan, who was amir of Afghanistan for most of the period 1863–79. Sher Ali Khan was the son of Dōst Moḥammad Khān ...
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The Durrani Gate
This photograph of the Durrani Gate in Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Ahmad Shah Durrani made Kandahar his capital when became the ruler of an Afghan empire in 1747. The heavy wooden doors of the gate, one of the entrances to the Kandahar citadel, can be seen in the back center of the photograph. Soldiers in pith helmets stand guard, regarding a scene that includes camels and herdsmen who have just emerged from the gate, civilians ...
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