Map of China, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait
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Map of China, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Regular price $250.00

Map of China, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

For China, the later half of 1850 marked the beginning of tumultuous times for the nation. The Xianfeng Emperor's forces had been defeated in a small scale battle against rebellion forces led by Hong Xiuquan in an effort to derail the emperor's attempts to disband his group of rebels, otherwise known as the God Worshipping Society. Hong Xiuquan had claimed to be the son of God and the brother of Jesus Christ; his mission was to reform China after the nation had been impacted by the First Opium War as well as famine. Xiuquan would declare a new dynasty in China with him a ruler, attracting peasants and workers with his claims. This victory and increase in numbers within the movement would spark the Taiping Rebellion beginning in January of 1851 with another rebel victory in Jintian. The Taiping Rebellion would span over the course of 14 years of Chinese history. 

Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1792-1868) turned his attention to mapmaking in the 1830s, due to his dissatisfaction with available school maps. He developed a map publishing business that would make him and later his son the most prominent American map publishers of the nineteenth century. By collaborating with prominent mapmakers and engravers of the day, such as James H. Young and Henry S. Tanner, Mitchell ensured that the maps he published were of the highest quality. During the 1850s, he partnered with Thomas, Cowperthwait, & Company to publish his A New Universal Atlas and his General Atlas. In 1860, his son Samuel Augustus, Jr, joined the company and he ensured that the Mitchell name remained an important one well into the 1880s.

Thomas, Cowperthwait, and Company was founded sometime in the early 1800s by Joseph Thomas and Hulings Cowperthwait. It operated under this name until 1853. The following year the company name changed to Cowperthwait, Desilver, and Butler. However, this configuration only lasted for about a year, before it became H. Cowperthwait & Company in 1856. After 1860, it appears the company experienced several more alterations, before ceasing publication at the end of the century.
- Ashe Nicholson

Plate size: 14.75" x 11.75"

Condition: Some minor foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition

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