1818 Pinkerton Map of Western Africa (Niger Valley - Mountains of Kong)

Western Africa.

1818 Pinkerton Map of Western Africa (Niger Valley - Mountains of Kong)


Speculative course of the Niger River w/ apocryphal Mountains of Kong.

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Western Africa.
  1818 (undated)    20.5 x 28 in (52.07 x 71.12 cm)


This fascinating hand colored 1818 map by Edinburgh cartographer John Pinkerton depicts Western Africa. Depicts Africa roughly from the Salve Coast and Gold coast west through the Ivory Coast, Guinea, the Gambia and north past Cape Verde as far as Senegal. Including numerous fascinating Tribal references such as the Kingdom of Brak, the residence of the King of Geba or Cabo, the Foulahs of Guinea, and the Maniana Cannibals, among others. Offers interesting inland detail along the Niger River as far east as Timbuktu (Tombuctoo). The continent is bisected by the dramatic and mythical Mountains of Kong, which, based upon the explorations of Mungo Parks, were presumed to be the southern barrier to the Niger River valley. Much of the rest of the continent is blank and as such 'unknown.' Drawn by L. Herbert and engraved by Samuel Neele under the direction of John Pinkerton. This map comes from the scarce American edition of Pinkerton's Modern Atlas, published by Thomas Dobson & Co. of Philadelphia in 1818.


John Pinkerton (1758-1826) was one of the leading masters of the Edinburgh school of cartography which flourished from roughly 1800 to 1830. Pinkerton & his contemporaries (Thomson & Cary) redefined European cartography by abandoning typical 18th century decorative elements such as elaborate title cartouches and fantastical beasts in favor of detail and accuracy. Pinkerton's principle work is the "Pinkerton's Modern Atlas" published from 1808 through 1815 with a special American reissue by Dobson & Co. in 1818. Today Pinkerton maps are becoming increasingly rare as they are highly admired for their unsurpassed quality, monumental size, vivid hand coloration, and flawless detail.

Thomas Dobson was an American publisher active in Philadelphia during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Dobson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1751 and emigrated to Philadelphia c. 1780. In Philadelphia, he established a successful printing business by republishing edited and updated versions of important British reference materials in matching quality but at a much lower price point. He is best known for publishing the first American edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He also published America's first Hebrew Bible. Cartographically Dobson's most notable work is 1818 republication of Pinkerton's fantastic Modern Atlas.


Pinkerton, J., A Modern Atlas, from the Lates and Best Authorities, Exhibiting the Various Divisions of the World with its chief Empires, Kingdoms, and States; in Sixty Maps, carefully reduced from the Larges and Most Authentic Sources. 1818, Philadelphia, Thomas Dobson Edition.    


Very good condition. Minor discoloration along original centerfold. Minor dampstaining in lower quadrants. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 0732.060. Phillips (Atlases) 724. National Maritime Museum, 409.