202 results in English
Gulzar Calligraphic Panel
This calligraphic panel executed in black and red on a white ground decorated in gold contains a number of prayers (du'a's) directed to God, the Prophet Muhammad, and his son-in-law 'Ali. The letters of the larger words are executed in nasta'liq script and are filled with decorative motifs, animals, and human figures. This style of script, filled with various motifs, is called gulzar, which literally means 'rose garden' or 'full of flowers.' It usually is applied to the interior of inscriptions executed in nasta'liq, such as ...
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Fortress of Ormuz: Plans of Plazas and Forts of Portuguese Possessions in Asia and Africa
This drawing shows the Portuguese fort at Ormuz, located on the Persian Gulf island of Hormuz. In its heyday, Ormuz was one of the most important ports in the Middle East, controlling trading routes between India and East Africa. Before coming under Portuguese control in the early 1500s, Ormuz was a city-state that flourished as an independent kingdom. Its prime location along trade routes made it one of the wealthiest cities in the world. The Portuguese controlled the city and its port from 1515 until 1622, when they were expelled ...
Holy Qur'an
According to Islamic belief, the Holy Qur'an was revealed by God to the Prophet Mohammad (570–632) by the Angel Gabriel over a period of 22 years. The Qur'an speaks in powerful, moving language about the reality and attributes of God, the spiritual world, God's purposes with mankind, man's relationship and responsibility to God, the coming of the Day of Judgment, and the life hereafter. It also contains rules for living, stories of earlier prophets and their communities, and vital insights and understandings concerning the meaning ...
The Treasure of Khvarazm’Shah
Ismā‘īl ibn Ḥasan Jurjānī (circa 1042–circa 1136, also seen as Jorjānī and Gurjānī), known popularly as Hakim Jurjānī, was among the most famous physicians of 12th-century Iran. In the period between the Islamic conquest and the time of Jurjānī, almost all scientific books by Iranians were written in Arabic, including such famous works as al-Qānūn fī al-tibb (The canon of medicine) by Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Jurjānī's medical encyclopedia, Zakhīrah-i Khvārazm’Shāhī (The treasure of Khvarazm’Shah) was the first major medical book in post-Islamic Iran written in ...
Molla Sadra’s Miscellany
Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm Ṣadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī (1571–1640), commonly known as Molla Sadra, was a Persian Islamic philosopher, theologian, and mystic who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century. The foremost exemplar of the Illuminationist, or Eshraqi, school of philosopher-mystics, Molla Sadra is commonly regarded by Iranians as the greatest philosopher that Iran has produced and is arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world of the last four centuries. His school of philosophy is called Transcendent Theosophy. Molla Sadra's philosophy and ontology ...
The Book of Kings
Shahnameh Baysonqori is a copy of Shahnameh (Book of kings) composed by the highly revered Iranian poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). The importance of Shahnameh in the Persian-speaking world is comparable that of Homer’s epics in the West. The book recounts in verse the mythological history of ancient Persia and tales of the famous heroes and personalities of Iranian history, from legendary times to the 7th-century reign of Yazdgerd III, the last king of the Sassanid dynasty. The tales are based on earlier historical works, but are mixed ...
Treatise on Holy War
The first Persian printing press in Iran was established in 1816 in Tabriz, and the first book published by the press was Jihādīyyah (Treatise on holy war), written by Abu al-Qasim ibn 'Isá Qa'im'maqam Farahani (circa 1779–1835), the prime minister of Persia at that time. During the reign of King Fath Ali Shah (1772–1834, reigned 1797–1834), while the Qajar government was absorbed with managing domestic turmoil, rival European colonial powers sought to establish themselves in the region. The British competed for influence in the south ...
Commentary on the Chapter Nine of the Book of Medicine Dedicated to Mansur
This work is a commentary in Latin by Italian professor and physician Giovanni Arcolani (died 1484, also known as Ioannis Arculani) on the ninth book of Kitāb al-ṭibb al-Manṣūrī (The book of medicine dedicated to Mansur) by the renowned Persian polymath Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Zakarīyā Rāzī (circa 865–circa 925). Known in the Latin West as Rhazes or Rasis, Rāzī was born in Rayy, just south of Tehran. He is generally considered one of the towering figures in medicine in the medieval period. His influence on ...
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The Three Books on Alchemy by Geber, the Great Philosopher and Alchemist
Jābir ibn Hayyan (also known by his Latinized name Geber, circa 721–815) was a contemporary of the first Abbasids, who ruled circa 750–800, and one of the principal proponents of alchemy in the early Islamic period. The earliest biography of Jābir, in al-Fihrist, was written in the tenth century by Ibn al-Nadīm, a scholar and bibliographer living in Baghdad. It contains a fair number of legendary elements, although the list of works attributed to Jābir in this work has been shown by external evidence to be generally correct ...
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The Greater Luminary
This volume contains Luminare Maius (The greater luminary), and an antidotarium (book of antidotes), by Joannes Jacobus de Manliis (1490). It is based on the works of the Nestorian Persian physician Yūḥannā Ibn Māsawayh (circa 777–857), known in the Latin West as Mesue, and “other distinguished physicians.” Also included is an edition of Pandectarum Medicinae (Encyclopedia of medicaments) by Matteo Silvatico (also known by his Latinized name, Mattheus Sylvaticus, circa 1280–circa 1342), which consists of an alphabetized list of medications, primarily of herbal origin. Sylvaticus relied and expanded ...
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Al-Qabīṣī’s Treatise on the Principles of Judicial Astronomy
ʻAbd al-ʻAzīz Ibn ʻUthmān was a famous astrologer, believed, based on a comment in the Fihrist, to have been a contemporary of Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq Ibn al-Nadīm (active 987). He was probably born in al-Qabīṣ, which is a place-name shared by two locations in Iraq, one near Mawṣil, and the other near Sāmarra. He may have been of Persian descent. Al-Qabīṣī’s principal surviving work is al-Madkhal ilā ṣinā‘at aḥkām al-nujūm (Introduction to the craft of [knowing] the judgment of the stars), dedicated to Sayf al-Dawla, the Ḥamdānid ...
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Anthology of Ḥakīm Ruknā Masīḥ
This diwan (a collection of poems in Arabic or Persian, usually by a single author) of Persian poems by physician and poet Ḥakīm Ruknā Masīḥ dates from 1638. “Ḥakīm” is an honorific for a wise man or physician. “Masīḥ” (the Christian), which appears elsewhere in the manuscript, was a pen name of the author. It is believed that the poems were dictated by the author to his calligrapher. The manuscript is in four sections, containing qasidas (odes), ghazals (lyric poems), rubaiyat (quatrains), and muqatta't (poetic fragments). The first two ...
Bazaar of Isfahan
This photograph shows a part of the bazaar in Isfahan, Iran as it appeared in 1944. A bazaar is a marketplace or assemblage of shops where a wide variety of goods and services are displayed for trade. “Bazaar” is derived from the Persian word for “market,” and many believe that the bazaar is one of the most important landmarks of Persian civilization. Archaeologists have found evidence of bazaars in different parts of Iran, and scholars have concluded that the development of cities was based on not only a rising population ...
History of Shah Abbas the Great
This early 19th-century manuscript contains a history of Shāh ʻAbbas (1571−1629, reigned 1588−1629) and his predecessors, composed in the late 16th or early 17th century by a contemporary. The manuscript most likely was written in Iran. The paper is a light cream, glazed laid stock. The text is written in nasta'liq script, 23 lines to the page, in black ink, with red ink used for headings, keywords, and some punctuation. Catchwords appear on verso pages. ʿAbbās I, also known as ʿAbbās the Great, was one of the ...
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Collection of Persian Poetry and Prose
This manuscript in Persian is an untitled Sufi text on meditation containing both poetry and prose. It was completed in early 1520, probably in Herat (present-day Afghanistan) or Mashhad (present-day Iran). The colophon, which is in Arabic, gives the name of the scribe, Mīr 'Alī Ḥusaynī Haravī (circa 1476−1543). The manuscript is on a firm cream-colored paper inlaid into light cream (folios 1−8) or pale greenish-blue margin paper, with the writing enclosed within alternating gold and cream (or green) bands with black ruling. The margin paper is profusely ...
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Collection of Poetry by Kalīm
Abū Ṭālib Kalīm Hamadānī (or Kāshānī, died 1651; 1061 A.H.) was one of the foremost Persian poets of the 17th century. He was born in Hamadan (present-day Iran) but appears to have lived in Kashan (also in Iran) for a sizeable portion of his life—hence the appellation Kāshānī. He received his education in Kashan and in Shiraz before moving to India to serve the Mughal ruler Jahangir (reigned 1605–27). Abū Ṭālib was thus among a large number of Persian poets and literati who left Persia in search ...
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Collection of Poems by Shāhī
Dīvān-i Shāhī (Collection of poems by Shāhī) is a divan (collection) of verse by Amīr Shāhī Sabzavārī (died 1453; 857 A.H.), a prominent Persian poet of the Timurid era who composed in many of the classical forms of Persian poetry. Amīr Shāhī’s poetry belongs to the tradition of Persian mystical love poetry. The collection includes poems composed in the ghazal (a metrical form expressing the pain of loss and the beauty of love), qaṣīda (lyric poem), and rubā’ī (quatrain) forms. Amīr Shāhī was born in Sabzevar (present-day ...
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The Crown Jewel
This manuscript of Durrat al-tāj (The crown jewel) is a Shiite prayer book, consisting of prayers to be said when making a visitation to the tomb of Caliph ʻAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (circa 601−61). ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib is one of the most revered religious and holy figures of Islam. His honorary name, Amīr al-Mu‘minīn, translates from Persian as the “prince of the believers.” Written works by ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and sayings attributed to him are sacred to the Shiite faithful, particularly among Persian speakers. The ...
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Ismāʻīl, the Persian Ambassador of Ṭahmāsp, King of Persia
Melchior Lorck, or Lorichs (1527–circa 1590), was the most brilliant graphic artist in 16th-century Denmark. He was born in Flensburg of distinguished parents; the Danish kings took up residence in the Lorck house when visiting the city. In 1549 King Christian III gave Lorck financial support to go on an educational journey. Lorck’s wanderlust led him throughout Europe and in the end to Vienna, where he gained employment with Emperor Charles V. From 1555 to 1559 Lorck was one of three ambassadors sent by the emperor to Constantinople ...
Representatives of the First Iranian Parliament
This photograph shows the representatives of the first Iranian Majles (parliament) in front of the military academy, which served as the first parliament building. In the 1870s–early 20th century, leading political figures in Iran concluded that the only way to save country from government corruption and foreign manipulation was to make a written code of laws, an attitude that laid the foundation for the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905–7. The movement for a constitution bore fruit during the reign of Muẓaffar ad-Dīn Shah of the Qajar dynasty, who ...
Literary Essay by Jāmī
This lithographic print is a literary essay by Nūr al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Rahmān Jāmī (1414–92), a great Persian poet, scholar, and mystic, who lived most of his life in Herat (present-day Afghanistan). The work is exceptional for being written in prose at a time when most fine Persian writing was in poetic form. Extensive commentary and critical notes are printed in the margins. There are also some handwritten notes in the margins, but most of these were lost when the work was rebound. Lithographic printing was invented in Europe in ...
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The History of the World-conquering Nāder
Tārīkh-i jahānkushā-yi Nādirī (The history of the world-conquering Nāder) is a historical study of Iran and Afghanistan during the reign of Nāder Shah (1736−47), written by a contemporary. Nāder was born in 1688 into a humble pastoral family. He established his reputation as a skilled military commander in fighting with Afghan forces that had invaded Iran in 1719 and that for a time occupied Isfahan. He assumed the throne as ruler of Iran in March 1736. His reign was marked by wars with the Afghans, Mughals, Dagestanis, and Ottomans ...
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The Near East
This 1952 map by the Army Map Service of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides a broad overview of the Near East, the geographic region traditionally thought of as encompassing the countries of southwest Asia, including Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Israel, and Jordan, and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. In addition to political borders, the map shows lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water, marshlands, cities by population, pipelines, railroads, and pumping stations. Above the key is a glossary of topographic terms with transliterations and translations into ...
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Map of Northern Arabia: in Illustration of Lady Anne Blunt’s Journeys
This map shows the routes of two Arabian journeys taken in the late 1870s by Lady Anne Blunt (1837–1917) and her husband, the poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840–1922). Lady Anne was a skilled equestrienne and horse breeder, who purchased Arabian horses from Bedouin tribesmen, which she then had transported back to England. Her work did much to establish the Arabian breed in Britain. In 1878, Lady Anne journeyed from Beirut, across northern Syria, and south through Mesopotamia to Baghdad. From there she traveled north along the Tigris River ...
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Map of Persia, Turkey in Asia: Afghanistan, Beloochistan
Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1792–1868) was a renowned American geographer and cartographer. The majority of his work focused on the United States, but he also made maps of other parts of the world, including this 1868 map of the Ottoman Empire, Persia (present-day Iran), Afghanistan, and Baluchistan. The main territorial units that Mitchell shows are Turkey, meaning the core of the Ottoman Empire comprised of present-day Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; Persia; Afghanistan; and Baluchistan (mainly present-day Pakistan). Egypt and much of the Arabian Peninsula were at that time technically ...
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Persia, Arabia, Et cetera
This map appeared in A New Universal Atlas, published in 1846 by Henry Schenck Tanner, an early American geographer and cartographer. This map shows the political and geographic features of the Arabian Peninsula, using the traditional divisions of Arabia Petraea, Arabia Deserta, and Arabia Felix. Also shown are the region of the Hedjaz with the cities of Mecca and Medina, and Al-Dahna (present-day Kuwait and southern Iraq). The key in the bottom right differentiates between capitals, important towns, and smaller towns by means of starred and shaded circles. The boundaries ...
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The Eastern Question in Europe and Asia
In the late-19th century, European politics were troubled by what had come to be called the “Eastern Question,” the fate of the 600-year Ottoman Empire. Once encompassing the Ottoman heartland of Anatolia (present-day Turkey), most of the Arab Middle East, and the Balkan Peninsula, by 1886 the empire had shrunk dramatically as a result of wars with European powers, Russia in particular, and revolts by subject peoples. This 1886 map, published in London, shows the Turkish Empire as comprised mainly of Albania, Thrace, Crete, Anatolia, and parts of the Arab ...
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The Euphrates Valley: Syria, Kurdistan, et cetera
This early 20th-century British map depicts the Euphrates Valley, a region that includes parts of present-day Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. Also shown is the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The map indicates railroads, both existing and projected, and the route of submarine telegraph cables. The vilayets (administrative provinces) of the Ottoman Empire in Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine and southern Anatolia are marked by red lines. A dotted line running across Persia (present-day Iran) from west to east is labeled “Southern limit of Russian sphere.” Under the Anglo-Russian Convention of ...
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Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean Sea
This map of southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean was made early in World War II by Fremde Heere Ost (Foreign Armies East), a unit of the German army general staff responsible for intelligence about the armies of the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, certain Balkan countries, Africa, and the Far East. The map shows country boundaries in bold, dark purple. Also shown are oil pipelines, wells and other sources of water, and important roads, railroads, and canals. Many of the countries of this region were involved in the war. Italian and ...
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The Empire and Expeditions of Alexander the Great
This 1833 map in Latin shows the conquests of Alexander the Great (356–323 BC), whose empire stretched from present-day Greece through Turkey and the Middle East to Afghanistan. In 326 BC Alexander set out to conquer India, but he was stymied when his exhausted armies mutinied on the banks of the Hyphasis River (now known as the Beas River) in northern India. The map shows the cities that Alexander founded and named after himself, including Alexandria Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan), Alexandria Ariana (Herat, Afghanistan), Alexandria, Egypt, and many others. Place-names ...
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Kingdoms of the Successors of Alexander: After the Battle of Ipsus, B.C. 301
Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) died suddenly at the age of 32, leaving no apparent heir or appointed successor. Some 40 years of internecine conflict followed his death, as leading generals and members of Alexander’s family vied to control different parts of the vast empire he had built. The Battle of Ipsus, fought in Phrygia, Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) in 301 BC between rival successors, resulted in the empire’s irrevocable dissolution. This late-19th century map in Latin shows the four main kingdoms that emerged after the battle ...
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Different Views of the Major Cities in Persia
This map by the Nuremberg engraver and publisher Johann Baptist Homann (1663-1724) features 15 aerial views of cities in Persia (present-day Iran), Afghanistan, southern Russia, eastern Turkey, and the Caucasus region. Beneath each city portrait is a number or letter key indicating the most important points in each city, including city gates and walls, bodies of water, royal palaces, and markets. The cities depicted are (1) Astrakhan, Russia; (2) Derbent, Dagestan, Russia; (3) Tiflis, Georgia; (4) Kars, Turkey; (5) Erzurum, Turkey; (6) Baku, Azerbaijan; (7) Sultanieh (Zanjān Province), Iran; (8 ...
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Southwest Asia
This map of Southwest Asia dating from about 1866 shows the possessions of the European powers in this region. The map extends from Libya, Egypt, and Sudan in the west to Mongolia, China (Tibet), and Burma in the east. Colored lines are used to indicate territories controlled by Britain, France, Portugal, and the Ottoman Empire and to delineate what the map calls the kingdom of the imam of Oman. The names of provincial capitals are underlined. British territories in India are divided into six parts: Bengal, the Northwest Provinces, Panjab ...
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Middle East Countries: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Saudi-Arabia
This map of the Middle East, originally published in August 1950 and revised in February 1955, was issued by the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, Air Photographic and Charting Service, Military Air Transportation Service (MATS), of the United States Air Force. In addition to Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, it shows the eastern parts of Egypt and the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium of Sudan as well as parts of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Many borders on the map, particularly on the Arabian Peninsula, are shown as still undetermined. Territories shown ...
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The Historical Theater in the Year 400 AD, in Which Both Romans and Barbarians Resided Side by Side in the Eastern Part of the Roman Empire
This map in Latin by the great French mapmaker Guillaume de L’Isle (1675–1726) shows the eastern parts of the Roman Empire circa 400 AD and the territory of adjacent tribes and kingdoms not under Rome’s control. The latter include the Sarmatians and the Scythians, peoples that the Romans regarded as barbarians. Arabia is shown divided into its three traditional divisions, Arabia Petrea, Arabia Felix, and Arabia Deserta. Qatar is indicated as “Catarei.” The eastern part of the map shows the empire of Alexander the Great, including Persia ...
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Map of Asian-Eastern Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, and Arabia
This map, published in Paris in 1842, shows the Asian provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Persia (present-day Iran), Afghanistan, and the Arabian Peninsula. The map appeared in Atlas universel de géographie ancienne et moderne (Universal atlas of ancient and modern geography) by the cartographer and engraver Pierre M. Lapie (1779–1850). Lapie was a member of the corps of topographical engineers in the French army, where he rose to the rank of colonel. He eventually became head of the topographical section in the Ministry of War. He was assisted by ...
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Johnson’s Turkey in Asia, Persia, Arabia, etc.
This map of the Middle East and Central and South Asia extending from the Nile Valley to the boundary of Afghanistan with British India is from Johnson’s New Illustrated Family Atlas, published in New York in 1864. The map shows national capitals, provincial capitals, principal towns, and railroads. The Suez Canal, under construction at this time, is shown as proposed. The map provides a detailed overview of the towns and cities along the Nile in Egypt, Nubia (present-day southern Egypt and northern Sudan), and Sennar (present-day Sudan), and of ...
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Persia, Arabia, etc.
This 1852 map from the New Universal Atlas by the Philadelphia publisher Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. shows the Arabian Peninsula, the kingdom of Persia, Afghanistan, and Baluchistan. The provinces of Persia, including Irakadjemi, Fars, Khorasan, and Kerman, are shown by different colors. The Arabian Peninsula is divided into the traditional divisions used by European geographers, Arabia Petrea, Arabia Felix, and Arabia Deserta. Yemen and Oman are shown, along with the locations of important towns, mountains, ruins, and wells and sources of fresh water in the Arabian Desert. Afghanistan includes the northern ...
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Map of Asian Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, Balochistan, and the Khanate of Bukhara, with Some of the Neighboring Countries
This 1848 map of the Middle East and parts of Central and South Asia is by the French cartographer and engraver Pierre M. Lapie (1779-1850), a colonel in the French army and head of the topographical section in the Ministry of War. Accurate and beautifully detailed, the map reflects the high quality of French cartography, and military cartography in particular. The territory covered includes the Nile Valley and the Nile delta, Cyprus and present-day Turkey, the countries of the eastern Mediterranean, Persia, Afghanistan, and Bukhara and other khanates in Central ...
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Colton's Persia, Arabia, Et cetera
This map of Persia (present-day Iran), the Arabian Peninsula, and neighboring countries originally appeared in the 1865 edition of Colton’s General Atlas. It extends from a part of Egypt (the Nile Delta) in the west to Afghanistan in the east and reflects the general level of geographic knowledge of the Middle East in mid-19th century America. Coloring is used to indicate borders and certain provinces or settled areas. The map shows cities, mountains, and roads, and includes some notes on topographical features. J.H. Colton & Company was founded in ...
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Central Asia: Afghanistan and Her Relation to British and Russian Territories
This 1885 map shows Asia from the eastern littoral of the Mediterranean to western China and the Indian subcontinent. An inset in the upper right depicts the region in the broader context of Asia, Europe, and Africa. A focal point of the map is Afghanistan, where, in what was called “the Great Game,” the Russian and British empires competed for influence throughout most of the 19th century. The British feared that the Russians, who annexed large parts of Central Asia in the 1860s and 1870s, would use Afghanistan as a ...
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A Map of the Countries between Constantinople and Calcutta: Including Turkey in Asia, Persia, Afghanistan and Turkestan
This 1885 map shows the region between Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire, and British India, an area of intense imperial rivalry between the British and Russian Empires in the late-19th century. British possessions are colored in red and include British India, Cyprus, the Aden Protectorate (present-day Yemen), Socotra Island (Yemen), and the northern littoral of the Horn of Africa, which became the protectorate of British Somaliland (present-day Somalia) in 1888. The map shows railroad lines and submarine telegraph cables. The railroad network is at this time more developed in ...
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