Rediscovering the Past / Mapmaking

By the turn of the 19th century, mapping had established itself as a scientific enterprise, often government funded, and conducted by skilled military personnel. During the 19th century, European countries made national maps with enthusiasm. They were partly for economic and social improvement, and partly a statement of national identity and pride.

An international collaboration mapped the seas for the benefit of all. Growing international cooperation also established Greenwich as the prime meridian (1884), agreed time zones, and led to the production of an “International Map” of the whole world. Improvements in printing technology made maps cheaper (and more widespread) and now colourful. Other types of map were published, such as geological maps, or thematic ones, showing wealth or disease.

Working NumberNameHolding MuseumDateMaterialsCurator Justification
DZ 083Map of Oran Musée Public National des Antiquités1840–1846At the turn of the 19th century, only a tiny percentage of the world had been mapped.
UA 001Map to illustrate the Route of David Roberts Esq. R. A. in the Holy Land, Petrea and SyriaSharjah Art Museum / Sharjah Museums AuthorityPublished 1849Coloured steel engravingReaders were able to connect views with maps to create an idea of landscapes and environment.
UK 081Watercolour by Claude R. ConderThe Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF)1870’sMaps were produced by expert surveyors using cutting-edge equipment and techniques.
UK 085SWP Geological MapThe Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF)1880’sMaps were very useful for administrative and economic purposes.
IT1 082Comic Map of Seat of War with Entirely New Features (London: Rock Brothers and Payne, 1854)State Archives of Palermo1854Made during the Crimean War in 1854, this satirical map portrays countries and animals. The tyrannical Russian bear is faced off by the turkey (Turkey) and its allies the lion (England) and eagle (France).
TR2 066Postal mapIstanbul Postal Museum 1911This map charts the postal network across the Ottoman Empire.
TR2 113Near Eastern and Balkan mapIstanbul University, Nadir Eserler Kütüphanesi (Rare Books Library)19th centuryPhotographAn Ottoman map of the Eastern Mediterranean, labelled in Turkish.
RO 039Ottoman map of the Romanian countriesNational Museum of Romanian HistoryBeginning of the 19th centuryAn early 19th-century Ottoman map of Romania and surrounding areas, with borders between territories marked in different colours.
RO 045Map of the 1877–1878 warNational Museum of Romanian History1877A map of Romania and surrounding areas at the start of the Russo-Ottoman war in 1877. Important cities and railways were marked, as well as colour-coding regions.
AT 039Map of the Network of CaravansAustrian State Archives1856The caravan routes of Egypt and Western Arabia are marked on this map.
UK 116Map of caravan routesThe British Library1897This map was made to teach British students about the interconnecting trade and pilgrimage routes across North Africa.
IT1 125A map of Tunisia (1:1,600,000) showing Italian agricultural settlements, mines, coral- and sponge-fishing areas and boat linesItalian Geographical Society (SGI)1906This 1906 map of the French Protectorate of Tunisia was made in Italy. It shows Italian agricultural settlements, mines, coral- and sponge-fishing areas and shipping lines.
LB 101Map of Beirut as it appeared in 1841American University of Beirut1841A map of Beirut in 1841 before the extensive rebuilding works.
LB 099Map of BeirutAmerican University of Beirut, Jafet Library, Archives and Special Collections Department1876A map of Beirut made in 1876 for presentation to Sultan ‘Abd al-Hamid II. It is a detailed land-survey map of the area, marking the locations of government departments, consulates, military posts, educational and health institutions, public parks, cemeteries and archaeological sites.
TR2 112Ottoman map of the period of Sultan Abdülhamid IIIstanbul University, Nadir Eserler Kütüphanesi (Rare Books Library)19th centuryPhotographThis map shows the Ottoman Empire under ‘Abd al-Hamid II. The names of places are written in French.
TR2 114Istanbul water pipeline mapIstanbul University, Nadir Eserler Kütüphanesi (Rare Books Library)19th centuryPhotographA detailed map showing the water-pipeline network of Istanbul.