Russian and British Empires in Asia 1800–1900


Map Code: Ax00975

Throughout the 19th century, Britain and Russia were both expanding their empires into the rich trading territory of Asia. As both empires had conflicting interests in the region, an era of diplomatic confrontation arose between the two, which became known as ‘The Great Game’. In 1830, Britain began the formation of a trade route north through Afghanistan and set about expanding its influence in Persia, Turkey and the region around modern day Uzbekistan. This officially marked the beginning of ‘The Great Game’ as Britain intended to use these states as a buffer zone against Russia, of which it was becoming increasingly wary. Russia’s territorial expansions posed a threat to India, Britain’s vitally important territory. After defeat in the Crimean War, Russia began a series of occupations in Turkestan between 1864–68. The period of opposition between Britain and Russia died down when they officially outlined their spheres of influence in 1907.

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