1840 Black Map of Asia
Description: A fine example of Adam and Charles Black's 1840 map of Asia. The map covers the entire Asian continent from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the North Pacific Ocean. It shows Turkey, Arabia, Persia, the Indian subcontinent, Russia, the Chinese empire, Japan and parts of Southeast Asia. Also shows the uninhabited island of Nova Zembla in the Arctic Ocean. In the early 19th century Asia was coming under increasingly imperial european sway. In India full British rule allowed england to attain naval and trade supremacy throughout the eastern Hemisphere. Using India as a springboard, the english traded wool and Indian cotton for Chinese tea and textiles. By the 1830s oversaturation of the Chinese market slackened Chinese demand for most British products. To make up for the trade deficit, British merchants introduced Indian opium to China. Addictive and cheap, Opium became Britain's most profitable and important crop in world markets, pouring into China faster than tea poured into Britain. Opium addiction and its attendant social ills reached such catastrophic levels that the Chinese government took action and destroyed British opium stores in Canton. As this threatened english commercial interests, the crown responded, sparking the Opium Wars of 1839-1842. The superior British forces took complete control of Canton, occupied Shanghai, and blockaded Chinese ports, forcing the Chinese to sign the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. This unequal treaty (the first of many between european powers and China) granted Britain extensive trading rights in China. This map was engraved by S. Hall for issue in the 1840 edition of Black's General Atlas.
Date: 1840 (undated)
Source: Hall, Sydney, Black's General Atlas: A series of Fifty-Four Maps from the Latest and Most Authentic Sources, Engraved on Steel, In the First Style of the Art, (Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black) 1840.
References: Rumsey 2305.040 (1854 edition). Philips (atlases) 4334.
Cartographer: Charles and his uncle Adam Black of Edinburgh, Scotland, founded their publishing firm in 1807. They published a series of maps and atlases throughout the 19th century. In addition to an array of atlases, the Black firm is known for their editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1817 - 1826) and the first publishing of Sir Walter Scott's novels in 1854. In 1889 the A. & C. Black publishing house moved to London where it remains in operation to this day. Click here for a list of rare maps by Charles & Adam Black.
Size: Printed area measures 16 x 11.5 inches (40.64 x 29.21 centimeters)
Condition: Very good. Blank on verso. Original platemark visible.
Code: Asia-black-1840 (to order by phone call: 646-483-0487)