The Helmund River


The Helmand River (also seen as Helmund) rises in the mountains of east-central Afghanistan west of Kabul. It flows 1,150 kilometers through southwestern Afghanistan and a small part of Iran before emptying into the Helmand (Sīstān) swamps on the Afghan-Iranian border. This map of the river was prepared for a paper presented by Sir Clements Robert Markham (1830–1916) to the Royal Geographical Society in London in February 1879. The paper and the map were published in the March 1879 Proceedings of the society. Markham was a British geographer who for a time worked in the India Office, where he helped to collect and organize the many Indian maps, reports, and surveys. He also served as secretary (1863–88) and president (1893–1905) of the Royal Geographical Society. In his paper, Markham summarized what was known about the Helmand and its tributaries, which include the Argandab, Tarnak, Arghastān. The map shows the course of the Helmand and its tributaries and other important geographic features, including deserts, salt wastes, and swamps. Roads also are indicated. Helmand Province, the largest province in Afghanistan, takes its name from the Helmand River.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Edward Stanford, London


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map ; 40 x 34 centimeters


  • Scale 1:1,500,000


  1. C.R. Markham, “The Basin of the Helmund,” Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of the Geography 1, number 3 (March 1879).

Last updated: September 30, 2016