My Wanderings in Persia


My Wanderings in Persia is an account of a three-year journey to and posting in Tehran in 1875‒78 by a British official contracted to the India Office for unspecified services. The author traveled by sea from London to Bombay and to Karachi and then overland to Tehran. His return journey was via Russia and across Europe. The book contains descriptions of the major cities of Persia (present-day Iran) visited, with observations on culture, religion, and everyday life. The author is critical of many aspects of Persia, including the cruelty and despotism of the ruling shah and the treatment of women throughout society. The book is illustrated with drawings and contains a large fold-out map that uses different colors to show the author’s route, the old western frontier of British India and the new “scientific frontier” further to the west, and the old Russian frontier and the new Russian frontier of 1878 after the Russian advance southward. An inset map in the lower left shows an enlarged view of the scientific frontier between Afghanistan and British India (in present-day Pakistan). The scientific frontier was a term used in 1878 by British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield) in reference to a rectified border between Afghanistan and British India, by which he meant a frontier that could be occupied and defended according to the requirements of the science of military strategy, as opposed to a “haphazard frontier” that was the product of historical circumstance. Although Anderson includes this term in the subtitle of his book and marks it prominently on the map, there is in fact very little discussion of the Afghan-Indian frontier in the book, which deals largely with Persia and very little with Afghanistan. An appendix gives the distances on the stage roads from Bushehr to Tehran, Tehran to Baghdad, and Tehran to Resht (present-day Rasht), with the distance in miles between stages and remarks on the status of the road on each stage.

Last updated: August 26, 2016