A Personal Narrative of a Visit to Ghuzni, Kabul, and Afghanistan, and of a Residence at the Court of Dost Mohamed


Godfrey Thomas Vigne (1801–63) was an English traveler and travel writer. After studying law and working in London for a number of years, in 1831 he undertook an extensive trip to the United States, which he recounted in Six Months in America, published in 1832. After a brief return to England, he left for India later that same year, beginning a seven-year journey to the regions to the west and northwest of British India, including Persia, Afghanistan, and parts of Central Asia. Vigne described these travels in two books, A Personal Narrative of a Visit to Ghuzni, Kabul, and Afghanistan (1840) and Travels in Kashmir (1842). In the former book, presented here, he describes his journey in 1836 through the Sulimani (present-day Sulaiman) Mountains from the Punjab to Ghazni, and from there to Kabul, which he is said to have been the first Englishman to have visited (although the Scot, Alexander Burnes, had reached Kabul in 1832). Vigne recounts his meetings with Dost Mohammed Khan, who he describes as especially interested in America, which the amir knew Vigne had visited. Upon leaving Kabul in October 1836, Vigne traveled to Jalalabad and from there into a part of Kafiristan (present-day Nuristan), a region inhabited by Kafirs (infidels) who had never converted to Islam. Vigne describes the mutual detestation and the violent feuds between the local Muslims and the Kafirs, who he speculates were “descended from the Greeks of the Bactrian dynasty.” Vigne writes about Russian incursions into Central Asia, and shows himself to be an early exponent of the view that as the Russians advanced toward Bukhara (in present-day Uzbekistan), the British needed to assert control over Kabul and Kandahar and ensure the neutrality of Herat. The book contains illustrations based on sketches by the author, including a colored portrait of Dost Mohammad Khan as the frontispiece. A fold-out map shows Vigne’s route through Afghanistan. Presented here is the second edition of A Personal Narrative, published in London in 1843.

Date Created

Publication Information

George Routledge, London


Title in Original Language

A personal narrative of a visit to Ghuzni, Kabul, and Afghanistan, and of a residence at the court of Dost Mohamed

Type of Item

Physical Description

479 pages : illustrations ; 22 centimeters


  1. E.I. Carlyle, revised by Elizabeth Baigent, “Vigne, Godfrey Thomas (1801–1863),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: July 27, 2016