Stanford's Map of Western Asia


This 1885 map of Western Asia shows the region from the Mediterranean Sea to British India, including the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula. This region was at the time under the rule of the Ottoman Empire in the west, independent Persia (present-day Iran) in the center, and independent Afghanistan in the east, with the Russian Empire to the north. Relief is shown by hachures, and the elevations of lakes and inland seas are given in feet (one foot = 30.48 centimeters) above sea level. The map indicates pilgrimage routes to Mecca from Baghdad, Damascus, and other cities. Also shown are the ruins of ancient cities, including Babylon and Petra, and towns and other sites mentioned in the Bible. In the lower portion of the map can be seen the submarine telegraph cable running from Kurrachee (present-day Karachi, Pakistan) to terminuses in Iran and Iraq. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the British authorities in London relied upon a worldwide network of such cables, mainly built and owned by the British government and private interests, to tie together the far-flung empire. The map is by Edward Stanford Ltd., a London map seller and publishing house established in 1853 by Edward Stanford (1827–1904), known for its London shop that catered to famous explorers and political figures.

Last updated: July 16, 2013