Map Illustrative of the March of the Indian Section of the Boundary Commission from Quetta to Olerat and Badkis; of the Frontier as Proposed and Actually Demarcated, and of the Author's Return Journey from Herat to the Caspian


In the early 1880s, Great Britain (which at that time effectively controlled the foreign policy of Afghanistan) and the Russian Empire opened negotiations to define the northern border of Afghanistan. The two sides formed a Joint Boundary Commission, which began work in the fall of 1885. By January 1888, the commission had set up 79 boundary markers along the 630-kilometer frontier from the Du’l-Feqar Pass to the Amudar’ya River. This annotated map of the western half of Afghanistan shows the route taken by the British (i.e., Indian) half of the commission from Quetta in British India to Herat, where it set up its headquarters, and further north where the survey work was undertaken. Colored lines are used to indicate “Boundary as actually demarcated," "Boundary as required by the Russians," and "Boundary as required by the Afghans.” The author referred to in the title of the map is most likely Sir Joseph West Ridgeway (1844–1930), who succeeded Sir Peter Stark Lumsden as the head of the Indian side of the commission and played a large role in both the survey work and in negotiations concerning the border with the Russian government in Saint Petersburg.

Date Created

Subject Date


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map ; 70 x 62 centimeters


  • Scale 1:2,027,520 or 1 inch equals 32 miles.


  1. Daniel Balland, “Boundaries of Afghanistan,” Encyclopaedia Iranica 4, number 4 (2013).
  2. E.I. Carlyle, “Ridgeway, Sir Joseph West (1844-1930),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  3. Peter Lumsden, “Countries and Tribes Bordering on the Koh-i-Baba Range,” Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography 7, number 9 (September 1885).

Last updated: September 30, 2016