" I'll be at the banyan tree "
The banyan is a species of fig tree, Ficus benghalensis
, and is the National Tree of India. In Hinduism, the species is seen as sacred and Dakshinamurthy (one of the representations of the god Shiva) is often depicted sitting beneath a banyan tree.
" the Russo-Turkish affair "
This refers to the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. The war began with rebellions by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bulgaria against Turkish rule. The Russians came to their aid, attacking through Bulgaria and advancing into Turkey.
Concerned by the growing level of Russian control in the Balkans, the British put pressure on the Russians to accept a truce offered by the Ottoman Empire in 1878. Under the treaty of San Stefano, the Ottoman Empire agreed to recognise the independence of Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria.
" lies within the Bala Hissar "
The Bala Hissar is a 5th century fortress in the Afghan city of Kabul. It is famous as the site of the 1879 massacre of the British Resident Louis Cavagnari and his embassy by Afghan soldiers.
Read more here:
The Truth About the British and the Bala Hissar
" Ours not to reason why "
Charge of the Light Brigade - Credit: SoLando
This quote is taken from the poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The poem was published in 1854 and tells the story of the Charge of the Light Brigade - a failed British cavalry charge made during the Crimean War at the Battle of Balaclava.
Read The Charge of the Light Brigade online
" with compasses and theodolites "
Theodolite - Credit: Rama
A theodolite is an instrument used in surveying and engineering. It can measure both horizontal and vertical angles. One of the first examples of a theodolite was built by Joshua Habermel in Germany in 1576. The theodolite replaced a similar, earlier instrument called a dioptra
which dated from the 3rd century BC and was used in astronomy.
" Ali Masjid is held in force "
The fortress of Ali Masjid is located at the western end of the Khyber Pass, Afghanistan. On 21 November 1878 the fortress was attacked by British forces after a British envoy had been refused entry to the Afghan city of Kabul. The resulting conflict became the opening battle of the Second Anglo-Afghan War.
" D'ye ken John Peel "
"Do You Ken John Peel?" is an 18th century hunting song.
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