Russia in Central Asia in 1889, and the Anglo-Russian Question


George Nathaniel Curzon (1859–1925) was a British politician, traveler, and writer who served as viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905 and foreign secretary from 1919 to 1924. As a young man he traveled extensively and wrote several travel books, or books that drew extensively on his travels. Presented here is his Russia in Central Asia in 1889, and the Anglo-Russian Question. Published in London in 1889, the book was intended as an update to the political situation in Central Asia up to that year. It is based on a series of articles Curzon originally wrote for the Manchester Courier and other regional English newspapers in the autumn‒winter of 1888–89. The articles, in turn, were an account of a journey he undertook in September and October 1888 on the Trans-Caspian Railway, which Russia had newly constructed through its Central Asian imperial domain. The book comprises ten chapters. The three discuss Russia’s perceived designs on British India; Curzon’s journey via Saint Petersburg, Tiflis (present-day Tbilisi, Georgia), and Baku to the Caspian; and the origin of the idea of a Central Asian railroad. The following four chapters deal with the different phases of the railroad, from its start at Uzun-Ada (present-day Uzunada, Turkmenistan) on the eastern coast of the Caspian, via Merv and Bukhara, and on to Samarkand (in present-day Uzbekistan). The last three chapters discuss the extensions of the railroad to Tashkent and other destinations, as well as what Curzon called the “present aspect of the Central Asian problem.” He casts the situation in the region as rapidly changing, and the new railroad as a tipping point in the history of the nations it traverses. He also discusses the strategic implications of the railroad, particularly its possible impact on the balance of power between Russia and Great Britain. The book includes a number of appendices, and is illustrated with two maps and numerous photographs depicting people, monuments, and rail construction sites.

Date Created

Publication Information

Longmans, Green, and Company, London


Title in Original Language

Russia in Central Asia in 1889, and the Anglo-Russian question

Type of Item

Physical Description

xxiii, 477 pages : illustrated, maps ; 23 centimeters


  1. David Gilmour, “George Nathaniel, Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (1859‒1925),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: December 19, 2017