The Heri-Rud and Murghab Rivers and Intermediate Territory from Merv to Herat


The city of Herat and the adjoining region of Badghis were part of the territory to which the Qajar dynasty of Persia was forced to relinquish its claims following the Anglo–Persian War of 1856–57. Under the terms of 1857 Treaty of Paris, the Persians were compelled to withdraw from Herat, leaving the city under Afghan control. Britain’s interest in Herat was linked to the intense rivalry between it and Russia in what has come to be known as the Great Game. The object of this rivalry was the control of Central Asia. The annexation of Merv by imperial Russia in 1884 sent waves of concern reverberating throughout the British Empire. The British feared that from Merv the Russians had gained new access to British India via the Hari Rud valley and the city of Herat. The map depicts the Badghis region and surrounding areas stretching from the Merv oasis in the north to Herat in the south, an area of great strategic concern for the British in 1885. The map was compiled from a survey conducted by the Afghan Boundary Commission, a joint British and Russian body, and was published in 1885 by the Royal Geographical Society in London. The scale is given in miles and versts, a Russian unit of measurement equal to 1.07 kilometers.

Last updated: January 8, 2018