Fall of Constantinople 1453
Spanish expansion and Rise of Spanish Empire 1400-1700 - (1521–1643)
Russian expansion from European region to the Heartland/Pacific region 1500-1700
At the beginning of the 19th century, Russia was the largest country in the world,
extending from the Arctic Ocean to the north to the Black Sea on the south, from the
Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean on the east.
By the end of the 19th century the size of the empire was about 22,400,000 square kilometres
(8,600,000 sq mi) or almost 1/6 of the Earth's landmass; its only rival in size at the
time was the British Empire.
To counter this expansion the British started their expansion from 1600 towards the southern
rim of the Asian continent.
They came to India by 1650 and were expanding in North America by 1750s.
After British defeated French they were ousted from Americas and British consolidated India Rule.
After every expansion of Tzarist Russia into central Asia the British expanded in the subcontinent -
At the heart of the Great Game lay the willingness of Britain and Russia to subdue,
subvert, or subjugate the small independent states that lay between Russia and British India.
The British became the major power in the Indian sub-continent after the Treaty of Paris (1763)
and began to show interest in Afghanistan as early as their 1809 treaty with Shuja Shah Durrani.
1795 Defeat of Tipu Sultan
1805- Defeat of Marattas
First Anglo–Afghan War lasted from 1839 to 1842
1848 - Anglo Sikh War
Second Anglo-Afghan War, 1878–1880
1919- Third Anglo-Afghan War and Independence
At the start of the 19th century there were some 2000 miles separating British India
and the outlying regions of Tsarist Russia. Much of the land in between was unmapped.
The cities of Bukhara, Khiva, Merv, Kokand and Tashkent were virtually unknown to westerners.
As Imperial Russian expansion threatened to collide with the increasing British dominance
of the occupied lands of the Indian sub-continent, the two great empires played out a subtle
game of exploration, espionage and imperialistic diplomacy throughout Central Asia.
The conflict always threatened, but never quite developed into direct warfare between
the two sides. The centre of activity was in Afghanistan.
After the first WWI Persia was freed from Tzarist Russian Influence.
With the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, the United States
displaced Britain as the global power, asserting its influence in the Middle East in pursuit
of oil, containment of the Soviet Union, and access to other resources. This period is sometimes
referred to as "The New Great Game" by commentators , and there are references in the military,
security, and diplomatic communities to "The Great Game" as an analogy or framework for events
involving India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and, more recently, the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia.
Iran was forced into a Revolution in 1979 cutting off Iran from Soviet Russia.
Soviet invasion of Afghaistan in 1980 brought the Anglo Americans into the Subcontinent again and their support
for Islamic fundamentalism changed the world after 100 years.
This Anglo American support to Islamic radicals in the modern globalized world changed the old Great Game.
Clinton administration support to the TALIBAN in the 1990s was the biggest input to the Central Asia which will have the longest impact in the history of the world.
In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski published "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic
Imperatives" which advocated a 21st century version of the Great Game. Popular media have referred to
the current conflict between international forces and Taliban forces in Afghanistan as a New Great Game.
However interesting the possibility of intrigues as they appear it is doubtful that the Great Game
unfolded in such dramatic fashion. In fact, the entire concept of the Great Game may have greater root
in the British imagination than in the rugged passes of the Hindu Kush. Indian historian J.A. Naik cites
several British historians who claim that the Tsarist government never took military operations against
In addition, the meaning of “The Great Game” that is popular now does not reflect the real concerns of
the British in relation to India in the 19th century. The primary concern of British
authorities in India was control of the indigenous population, not preventing a Russian invasion.
But however spurious the assumptions regarding the Anglo-Russian rivalry of the 19th and early 20th centuries,
they are no less compelling. According to Yapp, “reading the history of the British Empire in India and
the Middle East one is struck by both the prominence and the unreality of strategic debates.” And the
prominence of the debates serves to obscure the real challenge the British faced in India which was their
internal control, not the external threats from the far side of the Himalayas. Nonetheless, the power of
the expanding Russian autocracy was a reality in Asia.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_empires