By: Alexander K. Johnston
Date: 1856 (published) Edinburgh
Dimensions: 20 x 24 inches (51 x 61 cm)
This antique map shows the distribution of plants primarily grown as food crops throughout the world. It is from the second edition of Johnston's Physical Atlas of Natural Phenomena, published out of Edinburgh by William Blackwood & Sons in 1856.
Johnston's map presents in striking visual form a summary of what was known in the mid-nineteenth century regarding global food production. Detail is provided in insets, with the first providing information regarding principal plants grown for foodstuffs in west and central Europe, the next one presents distribution of plants used for the production of beverages, the third presents the spices of the East Indies, the fourth depicts plants-for-foodstuffs in western and central Europe and the final inset shows the most important plants according to the altitudes at which they are grown, worldwide.
The map is colour coded according to the main grains grown in each region, with each colour representing combinations of staples. Examples include Africa, where rice and maize are grown together, and the British Isles where wheat, barley and oats are grown. The insets show regional specialities such as cinnamon, nutmeg, coca, sugar, coffee, tea, pepper, clove, in the geographical region where they occur.
Alexander Keith Johnston's Physical Atlas of Natural Phenomena was amongst the most comprehensive geographic works focusing on natural science of its day. Johnston described the motivations and focus of his work in the preface as follows; The object originally contemplated in this work was to present, in a graphic form, a concise yet comprehensive view of the Physical Geography of the Globe, embracing under that term its superficial structure, the movements of its aerial and oceanic currents, and the distribution of organized existence on its surface.
Accompanying the map is the original letterpress description from the atlas the discusses in detail the methodology, science, and theory the went into the cartographic work.
Condition: Map is in A condition presenting an attractive and vivid imprint on heavy paper with full margins on all sides. A few small marginal tears exist but do not enter the map image.
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