The Great Game – A conflict between Great Britain and Russia in Central Asia and Western China.

Phil Cooper

Phil Cooper HistoricTravelTalks
Notice Period:
Short (maybe less than one month's notice)
U3A, Rotary, Probus, Womens Institutes
Free: What is customary
16th May 2020
Great Game | Russia V Great Britain | Central Asia | 19Th Century

The theatre where the Great Game was played out was mainly Uzbekistan, particularly Bukhara and Khiva, but also parts of Turkmenistan and Western China. The Russians for years had been making incursions into the area, but increasingly it posed a threat to British interests, with only Afghanistan separating the area from British India. To keep a track on this and to thwart any further intrusions Britain sent a number of intelligence officers to collect intelligence and influence the local rulers. This cloak and dagger confrontation came to be known as “The Great Game”.  Russiaphobia was at its height in the late 19th century and it almost produced a full scale war.  Russian incursions continued and spread to Western China, where the British established listening posts.   These confrontations were resolved in 1907 and peace settled, but did it?

For a online delivery I have kept this presentation to just around half and hour

I delivered this presentation using zoom and it seemd to be appreciated. "Have to say that I was mightily impressed by both your knowledge and delivery and found my half hour both informative and very interesting on a topic that I knew absolutely nothing about."

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About Phil Cooper

I am registered on Zoom and did a trial, with a friend - it worked OK. This will be mainly by screen share, as my talks revolve around photographs I have taken of various places I have visited. I can use Skype also.

During this time where people need help if there are any donations I will be sending them to the homeless who are vulnerable at this time. I would stress that for me it isn't a money making venture. Any donation from the Costa Rica talk will go to the reforestation project "Rainforest of the Austrians". Please google this to see details of their tremendous project. There is a PayPal reference if a group wants to support this. More details are on the website.

The accent is on the visual, with enough verbal to explain the story of where I have visited. I have accumulated what I feel are good photographs to illustrate my talks which relate to my travel experience. I had 19 speaking engagements in 2019, to various organisation. These presentations relate to places, often with a historical background and often not readily visited. These include Syria and Jordan, the Silk Road in Central Asia and Western China,, India and Cuba. Cuba and Panama. “Great presentation – I spoke to people tonight they were the cleanest photos seen at a Travel Club Presentation. Very good 9 out of 10. It must have been good, hardly anyone dropped off to sleep!” (Taradale Travel Club New Zealand).

My blog site is (Copy and paste)

One trip I wish to really promote is the trip to Costa Rica. Anyone who is interested in wildlife will enjoy this. There are some excellent photos provided by a colleague on the trip and lots of video. One particular scene involving sloths was something the guide had never seen in his 18 years experience. It also features a superb reforestation project "The Rainforest of the Austrians", re establishing habitats and adding to the carbon trapping capacity. I have liaised with the inspirational Michael Schnitzler and ALL funds generated are sent to Costa Rica to continue this.

I look back at my trip in the Middle East - from Cairo to Istanbul and reflect on what I saw then and what I see currently in places like Aleppo. However the highlight for me was the crusader fortress of Krak des Chevaliers, which is shown on the photo I have included. This was described by TE Lawrence as "perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world". Indeed he associated with many places along this journey.

I research the topics thoroughly and I provide a narrative and background to illustrated talks. I operate on a voluntary basis and am prepared to travel within reasonable distances from my home in North Nottinghamshire.

 Along the Silk Road in Central Asia Talk Feedback

This part of Central Asia included in particular Kunya Urgench, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. The buildings are simply stunning and the area is historically very interesting. It is the arena where the Great Game was played out, the political and diplomatic confrontation between Britain and Russia in the 19th century, which was described by one of the audience as fascinating.

"Very interesting talk. I could hear every word. I knew nothing about this area and learnt a lot. Pleased I came!!"

“Your talk was extremely interesting and I do believe, if you had spoken for much longer   everyone should enjoy it, and no-one would be bored. I did like the aspect that you kept referring to the map when relating to the history this indeed helps when discussing reasons and timings when situations occurred in the distant past. I also feel that your talk appeals to almost all  age groups, and both male and female.”

I am a former graduate Biology teacher and also coached cricket for 24 seasons. mainly in New Zealand,Scotland and Amsterdam. as a professional.

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