Map of Asia, 1875, Mitchell
Map of Asia for Mitchell's New Intermediate Geography, 1875.
Asia is the largest continent on Earth, comprising approximately thirty percent of its land surface area. It also contains about sixty percent of the world's population, making it the most populated continent as well. While different organizations define the boundaries of Asia and its regions differently, most consider it to encompass the eastern majority of the Eurasia landmass, stretching from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Due to its massive size Asia contains a wide variety of environments, including deserts, jungles, and dense forests. The continent is currently divided into six subregions, they are West Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, North Asia, and Central Asia. There are about forty-eight countries in Asia, depending on where the boundaries are drawn. Some of these nations were formed my decolonization or the collapse of empires during the twentieth century.
This hand-colored map looks rather different from maps of Asia today. While the area defined as Asia is almost exactly the same the political entities and their boundaries are quite different. While a modern map contains forty-eight distinct countries, this map only has about twelve different regions. For example, North Korea, South Korea, and Mongolia all belong to the Chinese Empire and the region of Central Asia is called Turkestan. Pakistan was formed through decolonization, it does not exist on this map, instead it along with Burma are part of British India. As can be seen if Africa, some areas that were carved out by colonial powers have experience instability and conflict since the decline of Imperialism.
Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1792-1868) was a school teacher. His dissatisfaction with the quality of geographic works prompted him to start his own mapmaking business. In 1826 he purchased Anthony Finley's New American Atlas and hired J. H. Young, the chief engraver, to improve and update the plates. He acquired the copyright for Tanner's New Universal Atlas in 1845, and extended the life of the copperplates by having the image transferred to lithographic stone for printing. Mitchell retired in 1860 turning the business over to his son Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Jr who was a skilled mapmaker. Their maps continued to be hand engraved and colored until the end of the century maintaing the high level of quality that had been so important to Mitchell.
- Naomi Bean