1875 Mullins Map of Central Madagascar

The Central Provinces of Madagascar. - Main View

1875 Mullins Map of Central Madagascar


First scientific survey of Central Madagascar.


The Central Provinces of Madagascar.
  1875 (dated)     31.25 x 16.25 in (79.375 x 41.275 cm)     1 : 760320


This is an 1875 John Mullens map of the central provinces of Madagascar - considered the first scientific survey of the central provinces around Antananarivo, the island's capital. Red lines trace Mullens's peregrinations as an official of the London Missionary Society. He was widely welcomed as a guest and given free rein to collect geographical and cartographic data. Throughout, cites, towns, and villages are identified for the first time on a modern map. Mountains are named and elevations given. An inset in the lower right illustrates this map in the context the entirety of Madagascar.
Mullens on the Creation of This Map
Mullens, in his paper for the Royal Geographical Society, discusses his motivations
Being deeply interested in this matter [the mapping of Madagascar], it was with peculiar pleasure that I accepted the invitation made to me, two years ago, to visit Madagascar on public duty. Aware that part of that duty would oblige my colleague and myself to visit thoroughly the central provinces of the island, we prepared to take advantage of our opportunities and add something at least to the knowledge of those provinces possessed by the geographical world. Had we known how great those opportunities would be, we should have endeavoured [sic] to obtain better instruments, and prepare ourselves more thoroughly to use them.
Publication History and Census
This map was created by John Mullens to accompany his article in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society entitled 'On the Central Provinces of Madagascar'. It was engraved by Edward Weller and published by John Murray. The map appears rare. The OCLC has but one listing - at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. A second example, not in OCLC, is part of the collection at Princeton University. Scarce to the market.


Joseph Mullens (September 2, 1820 - July 10, 1879) was an English missionary. Born in London, Mullens studied at Coward College (a dissenting academy that trained nonconformist ministers, i.e. ministers that did not conform with the Church of England) and graduated in 1837. He continued his education at the University of London (which was affiliated with Coward College) and graduated in 1841. Then, he continued his education in Edinburgh with the intention of working in India with the London Missionary Society (LMS). Mullens was ordained in September 1843 and soon after was on his way to India, where he joined the mission of Swiss missionary Alphonse François Lacroix near Calcutta. He married Lacroix's daughter, Hannah Catherine (who was fluent in Bengali), on June 19, 1845. Mullens continued to rise through the missionary ranks and returned to England on leave in 1858. A gifted publicist, throughout his career Mullens advocated for Protestant missionaries in general, not only those of the LMS. He returned to India in 1860, not long after a conference of Protestant missionaries in Liverpool. His wife Hannah died in India not long after their return, on November 21, 1861. Mullens was named joint foreign secretary for the LMS in 1865, and soon took a tour of LMS missions in China and India. He became the only foreign secretary in 1868. He toured the United States and Canada promoting the LMS in 1870. Mullens toured LMS missions in Madagascar in 1873. In 1879, while accompanying two inexperienced missionaries on a trip to Lake Tanganyika who were to replace the deceased incumbent there, Mullens fell ill and died. He was buried at a mission at Mpwapwa. More by this mapmaker...

Edward Weller (July 1, 1819 - 1884) was a cartographer and engraver based in London. Weller was a nephew of another well-known map publisher Sidney Hall (1788 - 1831), who gave him 50 Pounds to pay his apprenticeship fees. He engraved for many prominent mapmakers and was active enough in the community to be recommended for membership to the Royal Geographical Society in 1851 on the recommendation of John Arrowsmith, among others. He eventually inherited the Sidney Hall map business which led him to follow Arrowsmith as the unofficial geographer to the Royal Geographical Society. Weller was among the first map printers in London to embrace lithography. His best known work appears in Cassell's Weekly Dispatch Atlas, published in monthly segments for subscribers of the 'Weekly Dispatch' newspaper. This collection of maps eventually grew to include much of the known world. Published in various editions from 1855 through the early 1880s. Weller died in May of 1884, leaving behind a successful business and an unhappy widow. His son, Francis Sidney Weller (1849 - 1910), followed in his father's footsteps and continued the family map business. The atlas Mackenzie's Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales was published in 1894 and bore F. S. Weller's signature on the maps. Learn More...

John Murray I (1737 - 1793) founded the British publishing firm John Murray (1768 - present) in London. Born in Edinburgh, Murray served as an officer in the Royal Marines and built a list of authors that included Isaac D’Israeli and published the English Review. Murray the elder also was one of the founding sponsors of the London evening newspaper The Star in 1788. John Murray II (November 27 1778 - June 27, 1843) continued the family publishing business and developed it into one of the most important and influential publishing houses in Britain. The list of authors published by the firm grew to include Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, Washington Irving, George Crabbe, and Lord Byron under his tenure. Murray II also moved the business to 50 Albermarle Street in Mayfair, which became famous for Murray’s tradition of ‘four o’clock friends’, which was afternoon tea with his writers. John Murray III (1808 - 1892) continued to grow the business, and the firm published the first English translation of Goethe’s Theory of Colours, David Livingstone’s Missionary Travels and Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species during his tenure. Murray also published Herman Melville’s first two books. The firm began publishing Murray Handbooks in 1836, an ancestor of all modern travel guides. Sir John Murray IV (1851 - 1928) was publisher to Queen Victoria. Three successive Murray’s after Murray IV led the business until it was purchased by Hodder Headline in 2002, which was acquired by the French conglomerate Lagardère Group in 2004. Today, Murray is an imprint of Lagardère under the imprint Hachette UK. Learn More...

Royal Geographical Society (fl. 1830 - present) is a British Society established in 1830 to promote geographical science and exploration. Originally titled the "Geographical Society of London", the RGS received its royal charter from Queen Victoria in 1859 shortly after absorbing several similar but more regional societies including the African Association, the Raleigh Club and the Palestine Association. The RGS sponsored many of the most important and exciting voyages of exploration ever undertaken, including the exploration of Charles Darwin, David Livingstone, Robert Falcon Scott, Richard F. Burton, John Speke, George Hayward, H. M Stanley, Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmond Hillary. Today, the RGS remains a leading global sponsor of geographical and scientific studies. The Society is based in Lowther Lodge, South Kensington, London. Learn More...


Mullens. J., 'On the Central Provinces of Madagascar', The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society Vol. 45, (London: John Murray) 1875.    


Very good. Exhibits light wear along original fold lines. Light foxing. Closed tear extending one-half (.5) inch into printed area from bottom margin professionally repaired on verso.


Princeton University Library G8461.C1 1873 .R6. OCLC 1244493783.