By: John Thomson
Date: 1815 (Published) Edinburgh
Dimensions: 23.75 x 19.75 inches (60.33 x 50 cm)
This spectacular large format map from Thomson’s New General Atlas depicts European Russia following the Napoleonic Wars. The map is engraved in the minimalist English style pioneered in the early part of the 19th century, a style which reduced maps’ decorative elements to a minimum. Relief is shown by hachure with towns, cities, and major topographical features identified. Many of Russia’s great river systems are shown in detail. The map extends as far east as the Ural Mountains in the Permskaya Oblast.
Alexander I, who ruled as Tsar of Russia from 1801-1825, was raised on the ideals of the Enlightenment by his grandmother, Catherine II, leading him to adopt liberal rhetoric and a spirit of reform. He was one of the most brilliant diplomats of his time and he changed Russia’s position relative to France a number of times between 1804 and 1812, including positions of neutrality, alliance and opposition.
After Napoleon’s crushing defeat in Russia in 1812, the Tsar gained for his empire the territories constituting Finland and Poland at the Congress of Vienna. He then increasingly focused his foreign affairs on the expansion of Russian territory in order to preserve the legitimacy of what he considered to be rightful Christian monarchies.
This map dates to just three years after Napoleon was driven from Russia already hungry, and ultimately with the staggering loss of more than 400,000 troops throughout the entire campaign. Approximately 30,000 survived the long forced march back to France in the dead of winter. The map illustrates the speed and acumen with which Russian Tsar Alexander I was able to deal in foreign affairs, increasing the territory of his empire along with his sense of security from further threats from western Europe.
Condition: This superb large format map on heavy paper is in A condition. Original coloring.
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