Saint Petersburg: Typ. of V.S. Balashev, 1879. [Second enlarged] edition (First under this title). Quarto. , iii, 435 pp. With a large folding lithographed map at rear. Original publisher’s wrappers. A couple of 19th-century numbers in manuscript on the front wrapper, wrappers slightly soiled and with several minor tears on extremities, but overall a very good copy in its original state.
Important Russian piece of Great Game literature, with an early detailed account of Kashgaria or Yetisshar (“Seven Cities”) – a short-lived independent Muslim state in the Tarim Basin on the western outskirts of China, today a part of the People’s Republic’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Located on the trade crossroads of Central Asia, the ancient city of Kashgar traditionally was an important stop on the Silk Road and over the centuries fell under the power of Chinese, Turkic, Mongol and Tibetan empires. Since 1759 it was under the control of Qing China. During the Dungan Revolt (1862-77) Kashgaria gained factual independence from China, and its ruler Muhammad Yakub Bek (1820-1877) became an influential Great Game player who negotiated with both British and Russians for access to his lands. After Yakub Bek’s death in 1877, the Imperial Chinese army invaded and subdued Kashgaria once again. In the 20th century, the region saw a number of revolts against the Republic of China and the short-lived First (1933-34) and Second (1944-49) East Turkestan Republics. The territory of Kashgaria was effectively incorporated into Communist China only in 1949, but the sentiments to be independent of China still remain.
The book is an account of the 1876-77 Russian military mission sent by the Governor-General of Russian Turkestan General Konstantin von Kaufman to establish the firm border between Kashgaria and the new Fergana province of Russian Turkestan. The head of the mission and the compiler of the book was General Alexey Kuropatkin, a participant of the military campaigns against the Khanate of Kokand, the Emirate of Bukhara and the Tekke Turkomans in the 1860-1870s, military Governor of Transcaspia province (1890-95), Russian Military Minister (1898-1904), and Chief Commander of Russian military forces during the Russo-Japanese war (19 October 1904 – 3 March 1905). The party left Tashkent in May 1876 and proceeded to Kashgar via Khudjand, Kokand, and Osh. In Kashgaria they visited Aksu, Kuqa, and Korla, where they stayed for a month and where the negotiations with Muhammad Yakub Bek took place. Officers from the mission made side trips and surveyed the route from Aksu to Karakol, and the area around Karasahr and Baghrash Koli/Bosten Lake. The mission returned to Osh in March 1877.
The book contains a detailed account of the expedition and describes the events after Yakub Bek’s death in 1877, when the region was again taken over by the Chinese army. Over a hundred pages of supplements include the detailed routes of the mission from Osh to Kashgar, Aksu, and Korla; between Aksu and Karakol, routes to Karasahr and Baghrash Koli Lake (Bosten); statistical tables showing the volume of trade between Russia and Kashgaria (import and export to and from Kashgar, number of caravans departed from Issyk-Kul region to Uqturpan, arrived to Issyk-Kul region from Kashgar and Uqturpan, goods being traded on the markets of Aksu and Kashgar, et al); notes about sources used to compile the map of Eastern Turkestan and a list of the main astronomical points. The map of the northern part of Eastern Turkestan was published by the Depot of Military Topography of the General Staff and is based on the survey conducted by the mission and Russian contemporary maps.
The book received the Gold medal of the Russian Geographical Society. This is the first full edition of the book, complete with eight chapters, the route itinerary, supplements and a map. The first abridged account housing only five chapters of text was published in 1878 under the title “Ocherki Kashgarii” (“Sketches of Kashgaria,” SPb., Typ. of V. Poletika. 141 pp.). The English edition was published in Calcutta in 1882 under the title “Kashgaria: [Eastern or Chinese Turkestan]: historical and geographical sketch of the country: its military strength, industries and trade”.
Price: $3,500.00 USD