Map of West Indies, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Map of West Indies, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Regular price $185.00

Map of West Indies, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Between 1845 and 1847, Jamaica received 5,058 laborers from China and India. However, an outbreak of Asiatic cholera in 1850 would begin to kill off much of Jamaica's population. The disease was able to spread quickly due to poor sanitation and living conditions, claiming over 32,000 people over its run. Two years after the cholera outbreak, a smallpox epidemic arose within Jamaica, claiming even more victims. As a result, the colony had become poverty-stricken, with many estates going out of cultivation in the following years. In addition, due to revenue not being able to be easily raised, no money was left in the treasury. This led the British Government to lend the colony five-hundred thousand pounds in order to pay off accumulated debts.

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: 15" x 12"

Condition: Some minor foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition

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