Battle over Suidun. June 19, 1871


This topographical map shows battle plans for the Russian assault on the citadel at Suidun (present-day Shuiding), located in the northwestern part of Xinjiang province, China. The capture of Suidun took place on June 19, 1871, and was part of the Russian invasion of the Ili River region. During the Dungan Revolt of 1864, this region had come under the control of the Muslim Dungans and Tarachis, who had overthrown the Qing authority and established the Taranchi Sultanate. Following their victories at Chin-cha-go-zi and Suidun, the Russians temporarily assumed control over the Ili Basin region. Chinese authority in Xinjiang was reestablished by 1877, but it was only in 1881, with the signing the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (also known as Treaty of Ili), that the eastern part of the region was returned to China. The map is from the historical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The compiler of the first three parts was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. Production of the album was completed in 1871–72. The fourth part was compiled by Mikhail Afrikanovich Terentʹev (born 1837), a Russian military officer, orientalist, linguist, and author who participated in the Russian expedition to Samarkand of 1867−68. The album contains some 1,200 photographs, along with architectural plans, watercolor drawings, and maps. The “Historical Part” documents Russian military activities between 1853 and 1871 with photographs and watercolor maps of major battles and sieges. The photographs include individual and group portraits of officials and military personnel. Most of the men portrayed were recipients of the Cross of Saint George, an honor conferred upon soldiers and sailors for bravery in battle. A few photographs at the beginning of the album depict officers awarded the Order of Saint George, an honor granted to senior Russian officers for superior merit in conducting military operations. Also shown are views of citadels, fortifications, cities and villages, churches, ruins, and monuments commemorating soldiers killed in battle. The album contains 211 images on 79 plates.

Last updated: September 30, 2016