The Khyber Pass
Artist: Simpson, William (1823-1899)
This chromolithograph is taken from plate 41 of William Simpson's 'India: Ancient and Modern'. Winding through the barren, rugged cliffs of the Safed Koh range (part of the Hindu Kush mountains) between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the fabled Khyber Pass was for centuries the only overland route through to the Indian sub-continent. 53 kilometres (33 miles) long, it formed an important trade route as well as an entry point for invaders of India. British troops had to defend the pass and it was the scene of many skirmishes during the 19th century Anglo-Afghan wars. Control of the pass was secured for Britain under the terms of the 1879 treaty of Gandamak, and they built a road through it.