Tag: 1ST ANGLO AFGHAN WAR

EP057 FORWARD MARCH TO THE PASS

Welcome to the podcast! I’m recording this episode on the 1st Anglo Afghan War while dealing with selling my house and going through a divorce. The podcast is a great escape for me during these difficult times.

Quick housekeeping:

I’m pleased to welcome new patron Matt Anderson as a Loveable Chimney Sweep. Update on transcripts: I’ve been working on fully footnoted transcripts back to episode 32. Apple Podcasts now automatically produces transcripts for all episodes, which is great for accessibility. Today we’re continuing our series on the invasion of Afghanistan. If you haven’t listened to episodes 054-056 yet, start there first.

Prelude to the invasion:

The First Anglo-Afghan War is remembered as a great military disaster and a masterclass in bad political decision-making. I discuss how this war doesn’t fit neatly into typical frameworks like colonialism or imperialism. The British goal was to install a friendly king as a buffer, not to rule directly.

Different world views

I explore the concept of Orientalism and how it applied to British views of Afghanistan at the time. We look at quotes from British envoys and compare them to Roman descriptions of Germanic tribes, noting similarities in how “frontier” peoples were viewed. I discuss the Afghan perspective and capabilities, including their use of the jezail rifle.

The key British players introduced:

  • Lord Auckland (Governor General)
  • Sir William Macnaughten (Secretary to Governor General)
  • Alexander Burnes (British agent)
  • Sir John Keane and Sir Willaby Cotton (Generals leading the invasion force)

Professionals talk logistics

I detail the enormous logistical challenges of planning the invasion, including assembling troops, supplies, and animals. The invasion force had to take a longer desert route instead of the Khyber Pass, covering over 1,200km on foot.


Hunger and missed opportunities

The army starts to starve, and has to force the grim Bolan pass


Next episode:

We’ll follow the army as it pushes deeper into Afghanistan and attempts to put Shah Shuja on the throne.

If you want to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

The show also has a facebook page and group. Just search for Age of Victoria. Don’t forget to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, it takes less time than making a coffee. You can also subscribe for free on most major podcast apps. To support the show on Patreon, either CLICK HERE or you can go to Patreon and search for Age of Victoria podcast or my name. Take care and bye for now.

EP056 INDIA SERIES 03 THE AFGHAN FRONTIER

SHOWNOTES:

EP056 INDIA SERIES 03 THE AFGHAN FRONTIER

Introduction

    • I discuss enjoying Easter treats like nut-free eggs and binge-watching Shogun.

    • Shout out to Two Broads Cider on the west coast of the U.S.

    • Note about using some AI voice clips in the previous episode

    • Welcome to new Patreon supporter Sean Spada

Main Topic: The Borders of Victorian India and Afghanistan

    • Victorian Views on Borders/Imperialism

    • Importance of defined borders to nation-states vs. historical blended territories

    • Empires tended to use geographic features like rivers/mountains as borders

    • Motivations for expanding empire borders: security, resources, preventing rival expansion

    • Debate around British motivations – security concern vs. aggression

Geography of Afghanistan

    • Overview of Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain and extreme climate variations

    • Significance of the Hindu Kush mountain range and Khyber Pass

    • Historical importance as a crossroads along Silk Road trade routes
    • Challenges the terrain posed for military movement/supply lines
Main topic: Afghan culture

    • Predominantly Muslim, but rich cultural diversity beyond Taliban stereotypes

    • Alignment between conservative Victorian and Muslim values in some areas

    • Debate around female dress codes and varying interpretations

    • Primacy of tribal/kinship affiliations over national identity

    • Ethnic groups like Pushtuns and history of conflicts with groups like Sikhs

    • Afghan Border Security Concerns for Britain

Main topic: Preventing Russian expansion from Central Asia into India

    • Recent history of Afghan rulers invading India (Mughals)

    • Unease over Russian/French intrigues to court Afghan allies against Britain

Main topic: The Adventures of Sir Alexander Burnes

    • Early life and join the East India Company’s military

    • Daring diplomatic missions mapping rivers and intelligence gathering

    • Writing bestseller “Travels into Bokhara” about his experiences

Main topic: Burnes’ Afghan Mission (1836-1838)

    • Dispatched to Kabul to monitor Russian influence

    • Built relationships with Afghan leaders like Dost Mohammad Khan

    • Recommended installing Shah Shuja as British-friendly ruler

    • Laid groundwork for the disastrous First Anglo-Afghan War

    • Views dismissed by Sir William Macnaghten in favor of war hawks

Main topic: British Decision to Invade Afghanistan

    • Fears over Dost Mohammad allying with Russia/Persia against Britain

    • Failure to reach terms protecting British interests

    • Plan to depose Dost and reinstate former ruler Shah Shuja

    • Overconfident manifesto expecting quick regime change

    • Inability to concede to Dost’s demands over Peshawar and Sikh rivalry

    • Declaration of War!

If you want to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at ageofvictoriapodcast@gmail.com, follow me on twitter @ageofvictoria, visit the website at www.ageofvictoriapodcast.com. The show also has a facebook page and group. Just search for Age of Victoria. Don’t forget to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, it takes less time than making a coffee. You can also subscribe for free on most major podcast apps. To support the show on Patreon, either CLICK HERE or you can go to Patreon and search for Age of Victoria podcast or my name. Take care and bye for now.