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ELD 077 — Winter Quarters in Chahar Shanbeh

Sepia-toned photo-lithograph of a wash sketch, showing the winter camp of the ABC, with many tents and kibitkas pitched around a huge stack of bhoosa (hay). The ABC remained there from January 8 to early March 1886.
[Sketch, recto:] E.D. / 86. // Photographed by the Survey of India Department. // CAMP, CHAR SHAMBEH, WINTER QUARTERS, 1885-86.
[Sketch, verso:] 64 / Camp Char Shambeh / Winter Quarters 85-86 / Stacks of wood and forage.
[Lumsden Album:] Cutting from C.E. Yate: Northern Afghanistan, p. 129-31.
[List:] (68) Char Shambeh, winter camp of Mission 1885-1886, the heap of wood and chopped straw for the horses prominent.
  • Owen, Charles (1884-86): Transcript of diary and letters, p. 374: “8 Jan [1886] […] Sent off our traps about 9 am and marched ourselves about 10.15 for Chahar Shamba and reached that place at 1.45 pm. […] The Swiss Cottage tents were pitched and we were soon in clover. The camp is on cultivated ground but not as wet as we had expected. There is a large Commt. store here now and a tremendous stock of bhoosa (hay) and wood. The camp lines have been well laid down. Chahar Shamba itself is a straggling lot of villages and the people seem poor. The valley is about 1 ½ miles or more in width. […]”
  • [Parliamentary Blue Papers, May 1885]: Central Asia. No. 2 (1885), p. 104: Sir Peter Lumsden to Earl Granville. “I proceed to Penjdeh whilst the camp was moved by Kushk and Bala Murghab to Chahar Shamba, 30 miles from Maimeneh, on Herat road, where I shall establish winter quarters, arrangements having been made with Afghan authorities to at once construct kibitkas for men and horses.”
  • Griesbach, C. L. (1886): Mitteilungen aus Afghanistan, p. 123: “[…] Wir befinden uns jetzt [Januar 1886] in Tschehorshschambe, zwischen dem Murghab und Maimena und sind gegenwärtig eingeschneit; hoffentlich werden wir Anfangs März wieder weiter östlich rücken können, wenn die Grenze bis zum Oxus gezogen werden soll.”
  • Lansdell, H. (1887): Through Central Asia, Diplomacy and Delimitation of the Russia-Afghan Frontier, p. 627: “On the 25th [December 1885] the English invited the Russians to their Christmas dinner, and on Boxing Day returned the visit to a Russian lunch, soon after which the British started for their winter camp at Chahar-Shambeh.”; p. 629: “Owing to rainy weather the English Commissioner and political officers did not leave Chahar-Shambeh until the 7th of May [1886], two days after which they arrived near Maimana.”
  • Yate, C.E. (1888): Northern Afghanistan or Letters from the Afghan Boundary Commission, p. 85: the first visit of the Boundary Commission at Chahar Shamba is mentioned; pp. 129-130: “Chahar Shamba is not an interesting place to live in. Imagine a valley about a mile in width, with a small stream, some eight feet wide, running down the centre of it. On the north are low hills, or rather hillocks, bordering the chul; to the south the same for a mile or two. […] There is nothing in the immediate vicinity of the camp to tempt one out”; pp. 211-212: return to the camp of Chahar Shamba.
  • Adamec, L.W. (1979): Mazar-i-Sharif and north-central Afghanistan, p. 153: Chaharshamba, “The camp of the British portion of the Afghan Boundary Commission was here during the greater part of the winter 1885-6. The place was found to be much colder than Bala Murghab, where the pervious winter was spent (Maitland).”
  • McChesney, R.D. (Ed., 2013): The history of Afghanistan:Fayz Muhammad Katib Hazarah’s “Siraj al-tawarikh, Vol. 3-1, p. 208: “[…] Having completed the demarcation of the Herat borders, the demarcation of the Turkistan border and the erection of towers were postponed until spring due to the severe cold. Colonel Ridgeway came to the tent of the governor of Herat at Bala Murghab to express his gratitude for the favors he had received from Afghan officials and for the regard which had been shown him and the English commission. After meeting with the governor and expressing his thanks, on the twenty-ninth of Rabi’ al-Awwal / 5 January 1886 he said goodbye and left for Char Shanbah. […]; p. 215: “When the weather moderated, cold’s sway was broken, and fragrant flowers poked their heads from the ground in serried ranks, the English and Russian commissioners and Qazi Sa’d al-Din Khan, all of whom, as was mentioned above, had gone into winter quarters because of the severity of the hibernal blast, now set forth to establish boundary markers on Herat’s borders and to demarcate those of Turkistan. First Colonel Ridgeway and Qazi Sa’d al-Din Khan left Chahar Shanbah. […] They reached the guardpost […] on 6 March 1886 […].”
Image No
ELD 077
Afghan Boundary Commission 1884-86
ABC 5, ELD Sketches 054 to 107
Original wash sketch, British Library WD 457, size 380/660 mmLithograph in the Lumsden Album 253/441 mm(67 % of original size)
Lieu, date
Chahar Shanbeh, Winter, 1885-86
  • 1.57 Pictures of Landscapes, Cities
  • 19. Badghis Province
  • 3.711 Academic Painting
  • 4.365 Abdur Rahman Khan (1880-1901)
  • 4.416 GB Relations with Great Britain
  • 4.85 Civil use of the Military
  • Latitude / Longitude35.754393 / 63.985995
    Google Earth35°45ʹ N / 63°59ʹ E / 820 m
    Survey of India MapSheet 29, Herat (1916): Chahar Shamba, B 11

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