The Cartographic Emergence of Afghanistan

This series of ten maps reveals an important aspect of the Kabul hypothesis discussed in the text. They succinctly demonstrate how Afghanistan is at first unmapped, then emerges faintly in the vicinity of Kabul, Qandahar and Peshawar. After the first Anglo-Afghan war, the colonial category Afghanistan "competes" with Kabul and Qandahar, while Peshawar becomes firmly ensconced in British India with the creation of the North West Frontier Province in 1849. Afghanistan eventually triumphs over Kabul and Qandahar, with the former favored and viewed as central, and the latter marginalized in cartographic and, as the narrative of this book demonstrates, economic terms. These maps are of European and North American provenance and I am grateful to David Rumsey for use of these few of his many wonderful historic maps of Afghanistan and the world.

The boundary-based and border-focused literature of Afghanistan and surrounding areas in the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Asia is not fully engaged in this book. A good entrée to these issues and areas is Hopkins. The issues surrounding maps and mapping of national categories are not engaged here, the reason being Afghanistan's "historic lag time" rendering "nationalism" a twentieth-century phenomena for Afghanistan. Nationalism in twentieth-century Afghanistan is usefully considered by both Gregorian and Schinasi, while the growing literature on national historic cartography was in many ways mapped on to contemporary academic discourse through the work of Winichakul.

Images courtesy of David Rumsey. See

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