Unknown Pakistan

Almost 130 years ago the representatives of two unequal empires faced off inside a royal tent in the remote Gilgit-Balistan region of Pakistan.

Sir Francis Younghusband, a British colonial officer and master spy, arrived in full regimental uniform—shining with brass and braid—hoping to overawe the court of the fiercely independent kingdom of Hunza. Safdar Ali, the wily ruler of that small and reclusive mountain state, peacocked to the meeting in equally resplendent silks. The summit didn’t go well. Each man ended up lecturing the other about the superiority of his respective nation. “He was under the impression”—Younghusband sniffed of Ali—“that the Empress of India, the Czar of Russia, and the Emperor of China were chiefs of neighboring tribes.”

History hasn’t been kind to haughty outsiders in Gilgit-Baltistan.

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Human Journey

Meet the Author
Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek’s 21,000-mile Out of Eden Walk is a multiyear experiment in slow journalism. Moving at the beat of his footsteps, Salopek is walking the pathways of the first humans who migrated out of Africa in the Stone Age and made the Earth ours. Along the way he is covering the major stories of our time—from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival—by giving voice to the people who inhabit them every day. His words, as well as his photographs, video, and audio, are creating a global record of human life at the start of a new millennium as told by villagers, nomads, traders, farmers, soldiers, and artists who rarely make the news. Join the journey at outofedenwalk.org and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @OutofEdenWalk.