Caucasian Boundaries: Documents And Maps 1802–1946

ISBN:  (13) 978-1-85207-960-4    First published: 1996
Extent:  1 volume, 928 pages, including 1 map box   Editor:  A.L.P. Burdett  
Paper: Printed on acid free paper  
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish  
See sample pages: not available


This collection of key documents provides background information on present-day conflicts in the Caucasian region, and includes historical maps from British, French, German, Russian and Ottoman sources.
The aim of this work is to depict the evolution of major boundaries of Transcaucasia and the Northern Caucasus as measured and agreed by the international community at certain historic watersheds. Through extensive research into diplomatic and military records of the British government, we have attempted to trace descriptions of recognised frontiers and boundaries. The documents, used in conjunction with the map box, will depict evolving geopolitical claims of the key states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and North Caucasia; but also territories such as Daghestan, Circassia, Kars, Elisavetopol, Abkhasia, Kouban, at times subsumed into the larger states, are covered.


This zone of ancient geological collision, riven across its centre by the jagged line of the Elburz range, with the deceptive refuge of Ararat in the south; [the Caucasus] exemplifies the truth that extremes of geography make for extremes in human conflict. There have always been disputed areas, where first tribes, then nations, converged in certain parts of the Caucasus, but it is the disputes of the international powers of Russia, Turkey and Persia which dominate discussion on boundaries in the 19th century. As Russia extended its hold on the Transcaucasian provinces from the north, firstly through Georgia (declared part of Russia in 1802), then throughout the 19th century over parts of Armenia and Azerbaijan, pushing back Turkey and Persia (Iran), the territorial basis of the region known as Transcaucasia evolved. Intra-regional conflicts emerge and are assessed following the events of the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution and the intense diplomatic activity of the following years.
The period after the Great War and the Russian Revolution saw a variety of regional independence movements, before the Caucasian republics were assimilated into the Soviet Union. New territorial claims arose in the aftermath of the Second World War and are described, but beyond this point in time relevant material is not found in the British records and the present collection ends.


Material is drawn chiefly from the Foreign Office, Cabinet and War Office records of the British government, deposited at the Public Record Office, Kew, Surrey, and represents coverage of key issues as evenly as possible. However the material can only reflect the available documents: for example, because of the strictly bilateral nature of some of the agreements affecting frontiers, such as the Treaty of St. Petersburg (1834), these are not found among British records.
British interest in Transcaucasia was an indirect result of the usual diplomatic measures and exchanges principally aimed at maintaining influence and monitoring developments between Russia, Turkey and Persia. Documents in the first segment reflect this more distant role. However, Britain´s direct involvement in the two major Asiatic frontier commissions of 1857 and 1878 left a legacy of paperwork. The third major section of British records reflects the period of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Paris Peace Conference, both covered in detail.


The collection includes documents on the following key events:

  • Incorporation of Georgia in Russian empire, 1802
  • Treaty of Gulistan 1813 (Russia–Persia), providing for Russian acquisition of territory including Elisavetopol and Daghestan
  • Russian efforts to assert control over Circassian provinces, 1836
  • 1853-55 Russian campaign and siege of Kars
  • 1856-58 Treaties of Paris and Neuchâtel; creation of international mixed boundary commission to delineate Russia–Turkey boundary
  • 1874 British commitment to maintain Persian frontiers
  • 1878 Treaty of Berlin: demarcation of Turkish and Armenian boundaries
  • 1889 Russian colonies established, especially in Daghestan
  • 1901 British military report on Transcaucasia
  • 1917 Declaration of independence by Caucasian states
  • 1918 Treaty of Brest–Litovsk: German territorial demands regarding Batoum and Kars
  • 1918 North Caucasian Republic established
  • 1918/19 Declaration of independence by Azerbaijan
  • 1919 Abkhasian nation: argument for sovereignty
  • 1919 Georgia: independence claim; claim to Trebizond area
  • 1919 Proposed union of Circassian and Daghestan peoples
  • 1921 Kars Conference between Turkey, Russian Soviet government and Caucasian states; Karabagh attached to Azerbaijan
  • 1921 Treaty of Moscow: Kars to Turkey; part of Batoum to Georgia; Nachichevan to Azerbaijan
  • 1922 Union of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan as Transcaucasian Federative Soviet Socialist Republic; incorporation into USSR
  • 1936 New Soviet constitution, breaks up Transcaucasian Republic, detaches certain areas including Chechnya, North Ossetia, Kabarda-Balkaria
  • 1945-46 Armenian and Georgian claims to Turkish territory: note on file that "Stalin himself had drawn the line on the frontier map."


The following range of rarely seen historical maps, most in colour, is included in the second volume.
01. Carte des Environs de la Mer-Noire, Paris, 1769.
02. Detailed map of Georgia showing adjoining territories, 1817. [In Russian.]
03. Carte de la Géorgie et d´une partie de la Perse, St-Petersburg[?], 1826.
04. Karte des Kaukasus, Berlin, 1838.
05. Parts of Georgia and Armenia, the Persian provinces, Azerbaijan, Talish & Ghilan, and the Russian provinces, with the Caucasus, London, 1840.
06. Carte des Possessions Russes au-delà du Caucase et des Provinces Turques Limitrophes, Paris, 1840.
07. La Géorgie Primitive avant l´invasion des Scythes (Khazares), Neuchâtel, 1843.
08. Carte pour l´Intelligence de la Description du Caucase, Neuchâtel, 1835.
09. Route map of the Caucasian Regions, 1847. [In Russian.]
10. Map of the Principal Military Communications of the Kaukasus & Contiguous Frontier Provinces, London, 1857.
11. Map of Central Asia detailing new information, 1865. [In Russian.]
12. Map showing distances in hours marching in the southern Caucasus region, c.1877.
13. A sketch map of the Russo-Turkish Frontier in Asia, London, c.1878.
14. Sketch map showing the administrative divisions of Caucasia, London, 1885.
15. [Map of] Caucasia, Southampton (UK), 1906.
16. Map to show territory which was Turkish prior to War 1914-1918 which it is proposed to include within Northern, Western and Southern Boundaries of Armenia, London, 1920.
17. Map Showing Various Frontiers of Turkey and the Three Trans-Caucasian Republics and the Districts in Dispute between the Republics, British Foreign Office, May 1931.
18. Map to illustrate Georgian and Armenian claims to certain Turkish provinces, London, 1946