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1835 Bradford Map of Southern Africa


Southern Africa.
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Title:    Southern Africa.

Description:    This interesting map of southern Africa was printed by the important American mapmaker T. G. Bradford in 1835. It covers the southern portion of Africa from Liberia to Cape Colony, including Madagascar. An interesting map issued just as most of the earth's non-Polar shores were finally explored. Inland though, much remained unknown. The present map exhibits various speculations regarding the unexplored interior of Africa. Several African tribes are identified throughout.

Bradford maps the mythical 'Mountains of Kong' extending eastward to join with the 'Mountains of the Moon'. According to Ptolemy, the Mountains of the Moon lay near two great lakes that were source of the White Nile. Today some regard this range and its lakes as speculative. To the west of the Mountains of the Moon Bradford draws a long mountain range called the Mountains of Kong. This speculative range was proposed by the explorations of Mungo Parks and was presumed to be the southern barrier to the Niger River valley.

South Africa, a more pleasing climate to the Europeans, was at the time actively and aggressively being colonized by both the Dutch and the English.

The map was published as plate no. 112 in Thomas G. Bradford's 1835 Comprehensive Atlas Geographical, Historical and Commercial.  Bradford's atlas, published in 1835 was an important work on many levels.  First, it was one of the first American atlases to follow an encyclopedic format, offering readers extensive geographical and statistical tables to supplement the maps themselves.  Second, it was published in Boston and influenced the city's rise as a publishing center later in the 19th century (at the time most publishing in the United States was restricted to New York and Philadelphia).  Third, this atlas was the first to contain a separate and specific map showing the Republic of Texas.  Fourth and finally, Bradford's atlas in some instances broke the Euro-centric mold regarding atlas production.  Among other things, Bradford focused his atlas on the Americas and abandoned the classical decoration common in European atlases in favor of a more informational and inherently American approach.

Bradford published this atlas in several editions and with various partners.  The first edition was published by William D. Ticktor and did not contain the iconic Republic of Texas map (although we have in fact seen Ticktor examples with a Texas map, suggesting, against conventional wisdom, that there may have been two Ticktor editions).  The second official edition, published in the same year by the American Stationers Company, was the first to contain the Republic of Texas map, which is based on Austin's map, with two pages of descriptive text.  A third edition was issued in 1836, also by American Stationers (though still dated 1835), and contained an unaltered Republic of Texas map with only a single page of descriptive test.  A fourth edition appeared later, possibly 1837, and included an updated and revised map of Texas that replaces the old Mexican land grants with new inchoate counties. The maps from this atlas are an important addition to any collection focusing on early American cartography and Republic of Texas cartography.

All maps in this atlas, though not specifically noted as such, were most likely engraved by G. W. Boynton of Boston, who also engraved most  of the maps for Bradford's later publication.


Date:    1835 (undated)

Source:    Bradford, T. G., A Comprehensive Atlas Geographical, Historical and Commercial (Boston), 1835.    

References:    Rumsey 2643.122 (1838 edition).

Cartographer:    Thomas Gamaliel Bradford (1802-1887) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked as an assistant editor for the America Encyclopedia. Bradford's first major cartographic work was his revision and subsequent republishing of an important French geography by Adrian Balbi, published in America as Atlas Designed to Illustrate the Abridgement of Universal Geography, Modern & Ancient. Afterwards Bradford revised and expanded this work into his own important contributions to American cartography, the 1838 "An Illustrated Atlas Geographical, Statistical and Historical of the United States and Adjacent Countries. In his long career as a map publisher Bradford worked with Ticknor of Boston, Freeman Hunt & Company of New York, De Silver of Philadelphia, Hinton, Boynton, and others. Click here for a list of rare maps from Thomas Gamaliel Bradford.

Cartographer:    George Washington Boynton (fl. c. 1830 - 1850) was a Boston based cartographer and map engraver active in the first half of the 19th century. Boynton engraved and compiled maps for numerous publishers including Thomas Bradford, Nathaniel Dearborn, Daniel Adams, and S. G. Goodrich. His most significant work is most likely his engraving of various maps for Bradford's National Atlas. He also engraved for the Boston Almanac. In 1835 Boynton is listed as an employee of the Boston Bewick Company, an engraving, stereotype, and printing concern based at no. 47 Court Street, Boston. Little else is known of his life. Click here for a list of rare maps by G. W. Boynton.

Size:   Printed area measures 10.5 x 8.5 inches (26.67 x 21.59 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 30000000

Condition:    Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor spotting at places. Blank on verso.

Code:   SouthernAfrica-bradford-1835 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

Tags:    Bradford , Mountains of the Moon , Mountains of Kong

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