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Number: 3363
Continent: Africa
Region: West
Place Names: Benin, Nigeria, Lagos
Year of Origin: 1920
Title: [untitled coastal survey]
Language: English
Publish Origin: Lagos, Nigeria
Height: 75.0
Width: 243.0
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Large
Scale: 1 : 63,360
Color Type: No Color
Images of this map are not yet available.
Cartographer: Anonymous or Unknown
Publisher: Anonymous or Unknown
Other Contributors:
Northernmost Latitude:
Southernmost Latitude:
Westernmost Longitude:
Easternmost Longitude:
Notes: [Afriterra Library does not have the original nor this 1920 re-print, SOURCE Dasa Pahor] MAP OF THE COAST OF WEST AFRICA FROM COTONOU, BENIN TO LAGOS, NIGERIA]. A mysterious ?whiteprint? map of the West African Coast from Cotonou, Benin to Lagos, Nigeria, seemingly made by an anonymous British cartographer, perhaps in Lagos during the 1920s-30s, but after an 1880s antecedent, full of historically valuable demographic and geographic information. [circa 1920s-30s]. Technique: Photoprint (whiteprint, i.e., opposite of blueprint), rolled (Very Good, some light toning, a few marginal tears and a tiny point of loss to neatline near upper-left corner), 75 x 243 cm (30 x 96 inches). Code: 66145 This map showcases the critical stretch of the West African Coastline that runs from Cotonou, Benin to Lagos, Nigeria, as it appeared during the 1880s, before the region was formally divided into French and British colonial zones. However, the map appears by its style and the technique of its printing to have been made perhaps in the 1920s or 1930s, likely by a British government cartographer working in Lagos, who was reviving an 1880s manuscript. The map is made in the photoprint, or whiteprint, technique, which is the reverse of the better-known blueprint method. Cheap, but effective, the technique was commonly used in colonial settings from the end of the 19th Century right up until the 1950s (and in some places, beyond). The motive for creating such a gargantuan map showing the scene in the 1880s about two generations later remains enigmatic. We have not been able to trace the existence of another example, let alone any background information on the map. The map showcases the Cotonou-Port Novo-Lagos corridor to the super-large scale of 1 Mile to 1 Inch, noting every coastal waterway, river and lagoon (with depth soundings); while all villages are depicted pictorially and named, along with connecting roads and paths. Notes throughout describe the nature of the land and transportation routes. Captions describe the nature of the terrain, such as ?Dense Forests?, ?Cultivated Lands?, and ?Swampy Lands?, while other describe historical events such as exploring expeditions or military campaigns; for instance, the village of Yokah is noted as having been recently burned by the ?Dahomians?. The various territories are labelled by their traditional names, including the Whemi, Porto Novo, Pocrah kingdoms, as well as the Egba Territory. Key locations include the ?Town of Lagos?, which had been a British protectorate since 1851. Far to the west, ?Kotonu? (Cotonou), is shown to be under French control, a status that had commenced in 1868. The major trading centre of Porto Novo is shown to be full of ?European Factories?, but is not under the control any single Western power, while the area between Porto Nova and Cotonou is shown to be disputed between Britain and France. The map gives its main source as being surveying expeditions conducted in 1877 associated with T.R. Tickel, the British Commissioner in Badagry; also noted is an 1863 expedition into the interior, westward of the River Addo. In all, the map provides an historically valuable overview of the region, being rich with demographic and geographic knowledge based upon first-hand reconnaissance. The latest date referenced on the map is a note about a Chief?s travels in 1885. The scene presented upon the map depicts the region as it was just around the time of the Berlin Conference of 1884-5 when much of Africa was divided between the major European powers (with little regard to the claims and priorities of the indigenous peoples). Britain was awarded what is today Nigeria, while France was accorded what is now Benin (although neither power yet had effective general control over these territories). The boundary between the British and French domains fell almost exactly along the boundary marked on the present map between then ?Ratenu? and ?Appa? territories. By 1887, Britain consolidated its control over all of Nigeria; however, these lands would not be united into the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria until 1914. After a period of warfare against the indigenous kingdoms, France gained control over all of ?Dahomey? (modern Benin) by 1894, although these territories were not officially made a French colony until 1904.
Last updated: Apr 25, 2018