Take a close look at this painting, and tell me what you see.

What period would you place this scene in?

What empire do you think the soldiers on the left represent?

What about the indigenous warriors on the right?
As much as that painting might look like a scene from the frontier of the American West...

...it actually depicts a battle between Imperial Russian soldiers and Native Siberian people.

But the time period — like the scene's overall feel — is almost identical: the mid-1800s.
As I explored in this thread 👇 Russia's colonial conquest of her eastern frontier forms an eerie mirror image of America's push to colonize the West. https://twitter.com/writingben/status/995339690168537088
In the 1550s, while Spanish conquistadors were colonizing California and Florida, a Russian army led by Tsar Ivan the Terrible laid siege to the citadel of Kazan - capital of a Khanate ruled by Genghis Khan's descendants.
In the 1610s - while French and Dutch traders were bankrolling trade wars among the Iroquois and other Woodland nations in the forests of New England - Russian Cossacks were constructing winter outposts and forts to control the fur trade along Siberia's Ob River.
Throughout the 1710s, while England's colonies were consolidating their hold on America's Eastern Seaboard, Russian armies were pushing up the Irtysh River toward the Chinese border, contending with the Mongolian Dzungar Khanate.
In the 1840s, while American soldiers forcibly removed the Cherokee and other Plains Nations from their ancestral homelands on the infamous Trail of Tears, Russian armies were conquering the splendid cities of the Khanate of Kokand.
By the 1860s, while America's Southern plantation owners and Northern loyalists laid waste to their homeland in a brutal Civil War, Russian forces were laying siege to the ancient Uzbek strongholds of Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara.
And in the 1880s, while Apache warriors made their final stands against U.S. garrisons in the arid mountains of Arizona, Russian troops were battling guerilla fighters in the Pamir Mountains north of Afghanistan.
What's more, just as the American West would give birth to the archetypes of "Cowboy" and "Indian," Asia's frontier created its own immortal characters in Russian lore.

The Asian steppe was the realm of the bogatyr - the cowboy-knight, riding the range on his trusty steed.
And the adventure continues in this thread 👇 which dives into Part 2 of the "Wild East" series! https://twitter.com/writingben/status/1250140158919421961
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