By: Jean B.J. Fourier
Date: 1823 (circa) Paris
Dimensions: 16.5 x 22.5 inches (47 cm x 62 cm)
This eastward-oriented map depicts Cairo and its environs in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, when it was ruled by the dynasty of Muhammed Ali Pasha, whose progeny and their descendants did much to improve the city. A process of confiscating properties had begun in 1808 in which property owners were forced to accept inadequate pensions in return for their lands. However, despite having forcefully sequestered both land and holdings, the dynasty brought positive developments to the city.
By the time this map was published, the confiscation process had extended not only to the farthest reaches of the city, but to the farthest reaches of Egypt itself. Developments included the establishment of state monopolies for the chief products of various companies, and myriad factories were built. Perhaps most important was the development of cotton cultivation just north of Cairo in the Nile Delta, which was undertaken in 1822. Seed for the new crops was brought from the Sudan, and within a few years Muhammad Ali was positioned to extract considerable revenue from the enterprise. Egyptian cotton is prized for its quality to this day.
The map depicts all major topographical features, including cemeteries, major mosques, convents, forts, caravanserai, and of course the Nile in its meanderings, along with the islands in the vicinity. The image exhibits a bold strong impression with the Nile running across the entire width of the map. The city’s population at the time was approximately a quarter of a million, and we see Cairo surrounded by plots used for agricultural purposes.
Condition: This map is in C+ condition with one tear at top center extending two inches into the image and several areas of foxing and staining mainly confined to the margins. The image exhibits a strong dark impression.
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