• 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!

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