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207 Colton World Map 1856

207 Colton World Map 1856

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1856 Colton Map of the World on Mercator's Projection

From 1831 to 1890, the Colton firm was the premier American map-making company and an international leader in the map publishing industry. Joseph H. Colton was the founder of the company, but he had no formal training in geography or cartography; instead, he purchased copyrights of maps prepared by other individuals or companies, which he then published. Respected cartographer David H. Burr drew some of Joseph’s first maps in the 1830s. Around the 1850s, Colton’s publishing work included guidebooks, atlases, and immigrant and railroad maps. In the 1860s, the firm was renamed G.W. & C.B. Colton, and it is believed that George W. Colton compiled the company's 1855 Atlas of the World and continued serving as the firm's primary map compiler, cartographer, and engraver.

Colton's Map of the World on a Mercator's Projection is a smaller and re-engraved version Colton's important 1848 wall map of the world, believed to be compiled by George W. Colton and D. Griffing Johnson dated 1855. The map offers an interesting picture of the world during a period of rapid globalization and discovery in the 19th century, but focuses the attention on the Americas. The map identifies the sea routes taken by different notable late-18th century explorers by country, including James Cook, George Vancouver, François-Marie Bissot, and La Perouse. The map depicts topographic details such as various cities, towns, rivers, seas, oceans, and mountains. The map covers the continents in great detail stretching from the Atlantic to the Caspian Sea, and from the Arctic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

There is also a note situated at the bottom of the map which describes Captain Ross’ discovery of Victoria Land, January 12, 1841, and Mt. Terror and Mt. Erebus, the two volcanoes he named after the ships of the expedition. A vast portion of central Africa is characterized as ‘Unexplored Region.' The vague illustration of the Antarctic reflects the lack of deep exploration of the region up to that point.

With globalization and industrialization at its height, Colton’s Map of the World would perhaps have served as one of the foremost maps to consult when trying to locate places of interest to conduct business. The detail and accuracy of the map is exactly why it was a go-to reference guide during its time.  

All sizes are approximate.


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