Well, not Darkest Africa really, but the map that accompanies the book of the same title by Henry Morton Stanley, reporter and explorer, probably most famous for his laconic greeting (“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”) following his seven month, seven thousand mile journey through the tropical forests of Zanzibar.

The map is in a 21 panel foldout at the start of the book (which will feature in another post) which is a remarkably good condition third edition published in 1890.

The map itself is also in quite good condition. There is one tear on the panel where the map is attached to the book, but apart from some light scuffing to the corners it is really crisp.

All of the text is hand written, probably etched directly onto the plate, and is remarkably neat and consistent.

There is a very clear hierarchy in the text which is essential in maps of course.

In the heavily chartered regions, there is much incongruity in how the English names sit amongst the original names. Mount Gordon Bennett? Good grief…

This feature is the only landmark within an unbroken stretch of forest and is quite large too – around half the size of the lake in the previous photo. It is obviously included in an attempt to ‘flesh out’ the known area, but the disclaimer shows just how little was chartered, and how little trust there was in the guides.

Those darned Victorian Englishmen! In the middle of the African rainforest, he declares “You know, this reminds me of that pleasant little pond in Cumbria!”

The map also contains lots of references to other expeditions too, along with useful geographic and social information.

Throughout this map, and on the endpapers of the book, the rainforest is symbolised my hundreds of tiny trees printed in a very pale green.

There is another smaller map towards the back which is a little more regular and lacks some of the quirkiness of the main map.

Henry Morton Stanley
Emin Pasha Relief Expedition