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 base from which to threaten British India. The central region of Arabia is described as “uninterrupted desert from Mecca to Oman.” The map has two distance scales, one in English statute miles and another in Russian versts. Intended for American audiences, it also shows, at the bottom center, the U.S. states of Indiana and Ohio, which are drawn to scale as a way of comparing distances in the region with those in the United States. The map was issued by the G.W. & C.B. Colton Company, which was owned by George Woolworth Colton (1827–1901) and Charles B. Colton (1832–1916), the sons of Joseph Hutchins Colton (1800–93), founder of the pioneering map publishing firm J.H. Colton & Company.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

G.W. and C.B. Colton and Company, New York


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 44 x 71 centimeters


  • Scale approximately 1:8,000,000

Last updated: February 18, 2016