Colton's Persia, Arabia, Et cetera


This map showing the Arabian Peninsula, Persia (present-day Iran), Afghanistan, and Baluchistan (present-day Iran and Pakistan) was published in 1855 by the G.W. and C.B. Colton and Company of New York. Coloring is used to indicate borders and certain provinces or settled areas. The map shows cities, mountains, and roads, and includes some notes on topographical features. The old Qatari city of Al Zabara is shown. The map is accompanied by a one-page summary of the geography, people, principal places, and recent history of Afghanistan and Baluchistan. The map later appeared in the 1865 edition of Colton’s General Atlas and reflects the general level of geographic knowledge of the Middle East in mid-19th-century America. J.H. Colton & Company was founded in New York City, most likely in 1831, by Joseph Hutchins Colton (1800–93), a Massachusetts native who had only a basic education and little or no formal training in geography or cartography. Colton built the firm into a major publisher of maps and atlases by purchasing the copyrights to and republishing other maps before it began creating its own maps and atlases. In the 1850s, the firm became the G.W. & C.B. Colton Company, after Colton brought his sons, George Woolworth Colton (1827–1901) and Charles B. Colton (1832–1916), into the business. As in this example, virtually all Colton maps were framed in decorative borders of intertwining vines, flowers, or geometric shapes.

Last updated: January 14, 2015