This comprehensive history of nineteenth century Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city, uses not only traditional historical sources, but unpublished diaries, archived military reports, contemporary photographs, drawings, paintings, and maps of the city drawn by British soldiers, other European visitors, and Asian sources. In addition to its detailed expansion on familiar political history, he addresses the social structure, tribal and ethnic composition, religious institutions, and economic activity during this century. Central to his work is an often street-by-street description of the geographical layout of Kandahar, its key features, and how they changed over time. Both for historians and those seeking the context of contemporary issues in Central Asia, Trousdale’s work is an essential read.
William B. Trousdale (Ph.D. University of Michigan) is Emeritus Curator of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution. He conducted archaeological field research in Afghanistan and Syria and is author of six books and numerous articles on Afghanistan, Central Asian, and South Asian art, archaeology, and history.
“This is a solid piece of original academic research by William Trousdale, who knows the subject intimately both from many years personal experience in the field and from exhaustive research in the archives. It is entirely original, the only history in English of Afghanistan’s second city and first capital. The text is very readable and jargon free. This is all the more refreshing for an academic book where increasing jargon and over obsession with theoretical issues and models as often as not obscures the main subject. Hence, it does not set out to present any new thesis, but simply to present a factual history in an intelligible way. The main text (and endnotes) are interspersed with the author’s own observations, comments and reminiscences from his own times in Afghanistan, often with a wry - and occasionally acerbic - humour. Again, this not only makes the book all the more valid, based as it is on first-hand knowledge and experiences, but also a pleasure to read.”
Warwick Ball, D.Litt. (St Andrews), author of The Archaeological Gazetteer of Afghanistan
"Trousdale's pioneering and much-anticipated study of Kandahar is a major contribution to our understanding of Afghanistan's social and political history and throws new light on British India's frontier policy and 'The Great Game'."
Jonathan Lee, Fellow, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and British Institute of Persian Studies
About the Author Preface List of Plans List of Figures
part 2: The Moving City
1 The Old Kandahars
2 The New Kandahar before 1839
part 3: Kandahar in the First Afghan War, 1839–42
3 The Army of the Indus
4 The Plans of Kandahar, 1839–42
part 4: Kandahar at Midcentury
5 The Urban Infrastructure
6 Religious and Royal Structures
7 The People and the Region
Kandahar in the Later Nineteenth Century
8 Between the Wars, 1843–77
9 The Second Afghan War, 1878–81
Appendix: Kandahar Plan Concordance References
The book is written for scholars and advanced students interested in Central and South Asian history, the history of Afghanistan, 19th century history, architectural history, military history, urban history, and British history.