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Number: 3766
Continent: Africa
Region: North
Place Names: Tunisia
Year of Origin: 1910
Title: Carte de la Tunisie 1910.
Language: French
Publish Origin: Marseille
Height: 112.0
Width: 73.0
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Large
Scale: 1 : 500,000
Color Type: Full Color
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Cartographer: J. Vanney
C. Saliba Aine
Engraver: Imprimerie Moullot
Publisher: Service Geographique de L'Armee
Imprimerie Moullot
Other Contributors:
Northernmost Latitude: 37.5
Southernmost Latitude: 33.2
Westernmost Longitude: 8.1
Easternmost Longitude: 11.4
Measurement Notes: modern estimates
Notes: [Dasa Pahor source] owner, the esteemed collector Herry W. Schaefer, in pencil to verso (Very Good, clean and bright, just some mild wear along old folds and some tiny holes without loss at some fold vertices), 112 x 73 cm (44 x 28.5 inches). An extremely rare ? seemingly unrecorded ? ultra-large format map of Tunisia, showcasing a wealth of topographical and thematic details in a stellar Art Nouveau style, made in Tunis by the local cartographer J. Vanney for the stationer C. Saliba Aine, and published in Marseille ? from the estate of the esteemed collector Herry W. Schaefer. This grand format Art Nouveau map of Tunisia is the most attractive map of the country we have ever encountered. It showcases the entire populated area of Tunisia (only omitting its nearly desolate Saharan southern portion) and is predicated upon surveys made by France's Service geographique de l'armee. The Mediterranean is coloured in an elegant turquoise hue, while the country's varied landscape is expressed by elegant shading, with all major physical features, including rivers, mountains (with spot heights), oases, etc. clearly depicted. The map features a great wealth of information on the human improvements to the landscape, labelling virtually every city town and village, as well as rural mosques and archaeological sites (including 'Carthage'). Additionally, the 'Legende', in the bottom margin, gives the symbols for mining concessions and exploration permits variously for zinc, lead, copper and iron; roads of various qualities (with major routes delineated in red); railways (both in use and projected); as well as post, telegraph and telephone offices. The manuscript was drafted in Tunis by the local mapmaker J. Vanney. Little is known of Vanney, although he is credited with producing numerous different maps Tunis from around 1910 to the 1950s, as well as a 1912 geological map of Tunisia. The work was commissioned by the Librairie et Papeterie du Phenix, the city's leading stationer, owned by the firm of C. Saliba Aine. While Saliba published many small maps and other items in house, the present map was a technically demanding job, so was printed in Marseille. The map is embellished with three lovely Art Nouveau cartouches that feature the title, as well as advertisements variously for Saliba Aine, a local ironmonger and dealers of agricultural machinery, additions which likely helped to subsidise the production of the map. A Note on Rarity The present map is extremely rare and seems to be unrecorded. Indeed, such a map commissioned from Tunis to a Marseille publisher would only have been issued in a very small print run. Moreover, due to the map?s large size, examples would have been exposed to wear, resulting in a low survival rate. Thus, the condition of the present example is remarkably fine. Provenance The present example of the map is from the estate of Mr. Herry W. Schaefer (1934 - 2016), a Zurich banker, who was one of the most important and skilled collectors of maps, archives and ephemera from the Muslim world. As was his custom, the verso of the map is signed by Schaefer, along with the note that he acquired the map in Zurich in 1998. Tunisia: The Crossroads of the Maghreb and Europe The present map was made during an economic boom in Tunisia, in the heady period leading up to World War I. Tunisia had traditionally been an autonomous part of the Ottoman Empire, ruled by the Bey of Tunis. However, in 1881, France, which had controlled neighbouring Algeria since the 1830s-'40s, invaded the country on contrived pretexts. France made Tunisia a protectorate, while keeping the Bey in power in a figurehead capacity. As the historian Kenneth J. Perkins remarked, the 'French carefully kept the appearance of Tunisian sovereignty while reshaping the administrative structure to give France complete control of the country and render the beylical government a hollow shell devoid of meaningful powers'. The French ensured that Tunisia became the most 'Europeanized' place in North Africa or the Arab world, introducing many French institutions, customs and conventions, many of which were adopted, at least in part, by the 'metropolitan' class of the country's cities. As the map shows, massive French investment ensured that the country was soon traversed by railways and decent roads, while natural resource exploration and massive agrarian development transformed much of the landscape. France also encouraged European immigration, such that in 1910, the year the present map was issued, Tunisia was home to around 40,000 French and 105,000 Italian settlers. In the years that followed, France continued to develop Tunisia and considered it to be a prized possession. However, the fall of France and the Nazi occupation of Tunisia during World War II permanently weakened French standing in the country. In the post-war period saw the rise of a new generation of Tunisian nationalists, led by Habib Bourguiba (1903-2000), who gave the country a voice distinct from France, leading to Tunisia independence in 1956. That being said, Tunisia has generally since maintained good relations with France, and French cultural and economic influences remain strong in the country to the present day. References none ? Map is unrecorded.
Last updated: Jul 23, 2020