1851 Black Map of Africa
Description: This is a fine example of the Adam and Charles Black's 1851 map of Africa. It covers the entire continent from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic, including the island of Madagascar. An inset map in the lower left quadrant details Madeira while another inset in the lower right quadrant details the Yemeni Port of Aden.
A large portion of central Africa remains unexplored though the Sahara or Great Desert is beautifully rendered. The present map exhibits various speculations regarding the unexplored interior of Africa. The course of the White Nile shown here is speculative at best, the apocryphal Mountains of the Moon stretch across the continent, and what appears to be either Lake Malawi (Nyasa) or Lake Tanganyika is marked 'N'yassi, or the Sea'. The cartographer correctly identifies Lake Chad, while a region in modern day Algeria is marked 'Bileduljerid or the Country of Dates'. Several indigenous African tribal kingdoms are identified along te coasts.
At the time this map was made, the slave trade, thriving since the 5th century was rapidly diminishing due to decreased demand for slaves in the New World, the British outlawing of slavery in 1808, and subsequent diplomatic efforts including treaties with over 50 African rulers outlawing the practice. Many African economies adapted by shifting to the export of mineral and agricultural resources, which led to the european scramble for territory, occupying most of the continent by the end of the 19th century. europe's colonial interests in Africa haphazardly carved up the continent into unnatural territories, often forcing historic enemies into close proximity and leading to social problems that remain to this day.
Various towns, cities, deserts, oases, mountain ranges, rivers and several other topographical details are noted with relief shown in hachures. This map was engraved by Sidney Hall and issued as plate no. XLII in the 1851 edition of Black's General Atlas of the World.
Date: 1851 (undated)
Source: Black, A. and C., General Atlas Of The World, (Edinburgh) 1851.
References: Rumsey 2305.048 (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.
Cartographer: Sidney Hall (1788 - 1831) was an English engraver and map publisher active in London during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His earliest imprints, dating to about 1814, suggest a partnership with Michael Thomson, another prominent English map engraver. Hall engraved for most of the prominent London map publishers of his day, including Aaron Arrowsmith, William Faden, William Harwood, and John Thomson, among others. Hall is credited as being one of the earliest adopters of steel plate engraving, a technique that allowed for finer detail and larger print runs due to the exceptional hardness of the medium. Upon his early death - he was only in his 40s - Hall's business was inherited by his wife, Selina Hall, who continued to publish under the imprint, "S. Hall", presumably for continuity. The business eventually passed to Sidney and Selina's nephew Edward Weller, who became extremely prominent in his own right. Click here for a list of rare maps by Sidney Hall.
Size: Printed area measures 16 in height x 11.5 inches in width (40.64 x 29.21 centimeters)
Condition: Very good. Minor overall toning. Blank on verso.
Code: Africa-black-1851 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)
© Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Kevin Brown, 31/3/2015