Archive for the 'Charles Joseph Minard' Category

Mondays with Minard: Cotton and Wool Comparisons

During the Civil War, the Confederacy attempted to use “Cotton Diplomacy” to force Europe’s major industrial nations to enter the war.  The strategy was simple–British and French textile mills depended on Southern cotton, and if that cotton was cut off because of the war, it would force the European powers to intervene in the conflict to save their domestic industries.  The strategy failed, of course, in spite of the near elimination of Southern cotton from the international market during the war.  Today’s map gives a hint as to why.

The map above is a curious comparative map of the quantities of cotton and wool imported to Europe in 1858 and 1861.  Blue represents cotton and wool from the United States, the orange from British territories in South Asia, and brown from the Levant (the East Mediterranean).  Pink represents cotton and wool imported to Britain that was subsequently re-exported to Europe.  There is also a small sliver of imports from Brazil, also in a light blue, though the original color may have faded.  One millimeter represents 5,000 tons of cotton or wool.  Click here or on the picture above to see the map enlarged.

In 1861, the Union had not yet implemented its wartime blockade of the South, and cotton and wool could still be exported.  Nevertheless, the British were facing continuous demand and worried about the stability of their suppliers.  As such, they ramped up production of cotton in India and elsewhere in South Asia, clearly visible on the map. 

When the South eventually was fully blockaded, it was this South Asian source of cotton, as well as additional new production, that kept Continental textile mills in operation and prevented Cotton Diplomacy from succeeding.  In fact, in 1861, re-exports of cotton and wool from Britain to the Continent actually increased. 

Minard also includes a line chart of cotton and wool production and imports over 30 years.  This chart is interesting in its own right, as it shows how the Industrial Revolution and the Cotton Gin dramatically increased the demand for and production of cotton.  Click here or on the picture below to see the graph in a larger size.

Although this map does not show as stark of a comparison as other Minard maps, it still serves to show a clever framwork for cartographic comparison.

This is a post in our continuing “Mondays with Minard series, exhibiting Charles Joseph Minard’s excellent cartographic handiwork.  This map was photographed specifically for use here at Cartographia from the collections of the Library of Congress.  Feel free to reproduce the map in any way you wish, but please cite us as the source. 

Mondays with Minard: Wine and Liquor in a Land of Luxuries

France has always been a cultural trendsetter, from the architecture of Versailles to the fashions of modern Paris.  French wine and other spirits hold an important place in the French cultural pantheon, and Charles Joseph Minard sought to map how they were manufactured and shipped across the country.  Today’s map, the next in our ongoing “Mondays with Minard” series, shows the major land and water thoroughfares for wine and spirits across France in the mid 1800s.

Minard plots land transport via railroads in pink, and river transport via boat in green.  Yellow lines represent overseas exports.  Minard drew each line to represent 100,000 tons for each 33 millimeters of thickness.  Click here or on the picture above to see an enlarged version of the map.

The map shows how clearly Paris was the nexus of the French transportation system.  Most of the French-made wine and spirits were destined for consumption there, but even the little that was exported usually had to pass through the city before reaching its final destination. 

French rivers, particularly the Garonne, carried in large amounts of wine and spirits until they reached major cities like Bordeaux where they could be loaded on railroad cars for easier transport.  The same phenomenon is visible with Rouen on the Seine.

The map also shows how, even in an industrialized country like France, wine and spirits sometimes had to travel hundreds of miles down relatively small rivers until they could reach the first major node in the rail network.

This is a post in our continuing “Mondays with Minardseries, exhibiting Charles Joseph Minard’s excellent cartographic handiwork.  This map was photographed specifically for use here at Cartographia from the collections of the Library of Congress.  Feel free to reproduce the map in any way you wish, but please cite us as the source. 

Minard’s Map of Port and River Tonnage

Charles Joseph Minard was a master of using simple sizes to indicate relationships.  In this map, as with his famous chart of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, Minard expertly relates the volume of tonnage shipped through European ports and on European rivers to the size of the lines and circles representing them.

Minard developed this map from data on port and river tonnage in the mid 1850s.  The numbers over each circle are the volume of products shipped in thousands of tons.  For this map, Minard includes all ports that carry over 200,000 tons of cargo per year.  For the rivers, each millimeter of thickness represents 100,000 tons of shipping.  Click here or on the picture above to see a bigger map.

The movement of commerce across the continent is presented starkly through the thickness of the rivers and the area of the ports.  Britain, a worldwide commercial leader, has Europe’s two largest ports in London and Liverpool.  Only Constantinople and Marseilles present any challenge to Britain’s remaining ports for volume of tonnage.

Britain, however, has no river shipping listed.  Northwestern Europe–the Netherlands, France, and northwestern Germany–have tremendous shipping along their rivers.  The Elbe and the Rhine account for a majority of this shipping.  With Germany still not unified but with a burgeoning manufacturing sector, all the commercial products had to travel to sea via rivers.  Even today, the Dutch port of Rotterdam handles the world’s highest annual shipping tonnage.

The Russian Empire, with its vast distances and few railroads, made good use of its navigable rivers to transports goods.  Sadly, the area on the map around the mouth of the Volga, in the Caspian Sea, is damaged.  Otherwise, we would also know the volume of goods leaving and entering Russia via Central Asia. 

The Danube, flowing with goods while in Austrian territory, ships virtually none at all through the barely-industrialized Ottoman Empire until it approaches the sea once more.   For an empire so large, the Austrian seaports of Trieste and Venice handle little cargo, representing the Austrian reliance on overland shipping from Central Europe

In France, the Seine itself does not transport a tremendous amount of cargo; but its tributary the Oise carries huge amounts of goods from the manufacturing centers in northern France to the markets of Paris.  Similarly, the Rhone carries little international shipping; most of its cargo begins and ends its journey in France.

This is the third post in our continuing “Mondays with Minard” series, exhibiting Charles Joseph Minard’s excellent cartographic handiwork.  This map was photographed specifically for use here at Cartographia from the collections of the Library of Congress.  Feel free to reproduce the map in any way you wish, but please cite us as the source. The original map is in fairly good quality, but I ran the picture through Photoshop to improve the contrast and make the colors more vibrant for the sake of clarity. 

Minard’s Map of British Coal Exports

Britain was the world’s leading industrial power for most of the 1800s.  19th Century industrial production relied on coal–it powered factories, heated homes, and was essential for producing steel–and as an industrial power Britain relied on coal to make it great.  Most British coal was used domestically, but some was exported to support burgeoning industrial needs in other parts of the world.  Charles Joseph Minard, the well-regarded economic cartographer, produced this excellent map of British coal exports for the year 1864. 

As with most of Minard’s works, this map relates the thickness of each export line to the amount of coal it represents.  Here, each millimeter of thickness represents 20,000 tons of coal.  The numbers written over or beside the lines represent the total number of tons of coal, in thousands.  Click here or on the picture above to see the full map.  Minard also included a fascinating graph of the eventual uses of all British-mined coal in the upper right.  More on that graph later.

The map clearly demonstrates that the majority of British coal exports were destined for use in Western Europe–in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the German states, and Scandinavia.  A smaller but still significant amount was exported to Russia (via both the Baltic and Black Seas) and the Ottoman Empire.

The coal that was not shipped to Europe was distributed across the remaining five populated continents, but not evenly: Australia and Africa (with the exception of British-controlled Egypt) imported hardly any coal at all, whereas China and India imported much more.  South America also imported a significant amount of British coal–much of it to Brazil, Chile, or Peru.  Canada and the United States imported a relatively small amount–the former possibly due to its lower population, and the latter probably due to large domestic coal production. 

The map show some interesting details about international trade during the mid 1860s.  Malta, Singapore, and especially Cuba imported large amounts of coal given their relative size and levels of industrialization.  Malta and Singapore, at least, were British colonies;  but Cuba was a Spanish possession, showing how much the dwindling Spanish Empire had come to rely on foreign industry to sustain itself. 

Though St. Petersburg was the Russian capital at the time, the majority of Russian coal imports from the Baltic Sea were instead destined for the city of Kronstadt, located on an island off the coast of St. Petersburg.  Kronstadt was the headquarters of the Russian Baltic Fleet, and its steam-powered battlecruisers consumed coal at a tremendous rate. 

Prussia’s growing power in Germany is shown by the amount of coal it imported from the Baltic, peeling off into multiple ports.  But Minard also indicates that a rather large amount of coal was still being imported to the German North Sea ports and destined for the “Villes Anseatiques”–the cities of the old Hanseatic League, a Renaissance-era trading guild that had become defunct in all but name in the 1600s.  Interestingly, however, the German cities of Lubeck, Hamburg, and Bremen maintained the pretenses of the League until 1862–only two years before the data for this map was gathered.  It is unclear whether Minard refers to the imports of the last three cities, or of a collection of older member cities.  At the very least, the use of this nomenclature shows the continuing decentralization of Germany, which would not change until German unification under Prussia at the beginning of the next decade.

Finally, the map also shows the continuing economic importance of the Caribbean islands.  More coal was imported by those small specks of land than by the rest of North America combined. 

Minard also included an interesting chart in the upper right-hand corner of the map, showing the amount of British coal produced for each year between 1850 and 1864, and how it was used.  Click here or on the picture below to see a close-up of the chart.  The graph shows the tremendous changes in coal production over only a decade and a half–an increase of nearly 100% from just over 50 million to nearly 95 million tons.  Of this, less than 10% was ever exported–meaning that the British domestic market was consuming nine times as much coal as is shown as exported in the main map. 

The major uses of British coal, according to the chart, are: the production of iron (“Fer”) and cast iron (“Fonte”), gas lighting (“Eclairage au gas”), steam engines in ships and trains (“Navires a Vapeur et Chemins de Fer”), and domestic fireplaces (“Foyers Domestiques”).  A large amount of this production was also specifically slated for use in London, showing how that city was the major center of British industry. 

This is the second post in our continuing “Mondays with Minard” series, exhibiting Charles Joseph Minard’s excellent cartographic handiwork.  This map was photographed specifically for use here at Cartographia from the collections of the Library of Congress.  Feel free to reproduce the map in any way you wish, but please cite us as the source. The original map is in fairly good quality, but I ran the picture through Photoshop to improve the contrast and make the colors more vibrant for the sake of clarity. 

Introducing “Mondays with Minard”

There are few features on this site that have garnered as many positive responses as the works of Charles Joseph Minard, the 19th Century French economic geographer, cartographer, and civil engineer.  Minard produced dozens of fascinating maps of economic, military, and social trends.  Two of his maps–a chart of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia, and a map of international immigration in 1858–have previously been featured on this site.  Now, I am introducing a weekly feature where, each Monday, I will present another of Minard’s excellent maps.

Toward the end of his life, Minard donated a complete set of his maps to the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, the French national academy of bridges and roads, where he had served as the superintendent.  As far as I know, this is the only complete collection of Minard’s maps; but several others are held in collections around the world.  One relatively small but high-quality collection is held by the Library of Congress, here in Washington, DC.  Others have been reproduced in English- and French-language books on thematic mapping.  I’ve done my best to draw on as many sources of Minard maps as possible to present them here.

Many of the maps that will appear over the next several weeks are not available elsewhere on the Internet.  All of them are unequivocably in the public domain, however, so feel free to reproduce and circulate them, though we here at Cartographia would appreciate attribution. 

The first post of the series begins below…

Hannibal Crosses the Alps

Charles Joseph Minard’s most famous work, a chart of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, immediately impresses the observer with the magnitude of Napoleon’s losses.  The quickest of glances shows the dramatic thinning of the line representing the number of men in his army as they succumbed to starvation, enemy combat, and the bitter cold.  Minard produced a companion map, shown above, of Hannibal Barca’s invasion of Italy in 218 BC during the Second Punic War, including his famous crossing of the Alps.

Minard’s map charts Hannibal’s path from Iberia (Spain), across southern Gaul (France), across the Alps and into Italy.  Minard represents the number of men in Hannibal’s army with the thickness of the line showing the army’s path.  One millimeter of thickness represents 1,000 men.  The Hannibal map, however, is not as striking as the Napoleon map.  For one, the numbers of men involved in Hannibal’s invasion are significantly smaller.  Minard could have exaggerated Hannibal’s losses by increasing the ratio of men to line thickness, but held exactness in too high a regard to attempt such data manipulation.  Click here or on the picture above to see the full map.

The Punic Wars were fought between Rome and Carthage over control over the Western Mediterranean.  The First Punic War, between 264 to 241 BC, was fought over control of Sicily and ended with Roman victory and the defeat of Carthaginian naval power.  The Second Punic War, on the other hand, was fought over conflicting spheres of Roman and Carthaginian influence in Spain.  Rome declared war on Carthage in 218 BC, and Hannibal set out soon after to invade Italy.

Hannibal understood that Carthaginian naval power was weak, and that Rome had to be struck directly in order to guarantee decisive victory.  Since he had no means of attacking by sea, he had to strike overland.  According to Minard’s sources, Hannibal began his journey with 94,000 men including cavalry, siege engines, and, famously, 36 war elephants.  When he arrived at the Pyrenees, the force numbered about 80,000.  In the Pyrenees he subdued the local tribes with significant losses.  Minard records Hannibal’s army at a strength of 60,000 when it emerged from the mountains, a loss of 25%. 

An approximate overlay of Hannibal’s route on a modern-day map from Google Earth. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Hannibal now marched across the plains of southern Gaul, defeating or negotiating with the local tribes.  He only met significant resistance when he tried to cross the Rhone River near modern Avignon.  He defeated the opposing tribe, as Minard shows, by sending a detachment upriver and outflanking them.   Hannibal then began his crossing of the Alps.  To this day, Hannibal’s path across the mountains is debated.  Minard’s legend indicates that he uses the route suggested by French historian Jean-Louis Larauza, though Minard indicates he himself cannot speak to the historical accuracy of this route.  Regardless, Minard indicates the severe losses Hannibal’s army experienced during the crossing–46,000 men entered the foothills of the Alps in 218 BC, but only 25,000 emerged. 

Now in Italy, Hannibal sought to join up with anti-Roman allies in the region, but before he could he had to fight his way through further hostile tribes and local Roman forces.  By the time the army crossed the Po River, these engagements dwindled the forces to a stunning 6,000 men.  It was these few who would join with the anti-Roman forces in northern Italy to begin the main assault on Roman territory. 

Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps is generally regarded as a masterpiece of military strategy, but in the crossing Hannibal suffered dramatic losses of men, as well as of his war elephants and, perhaps most importantly, his siege engines.  Without these engines, Hannibal would not be able to penetrate the fortifications of Rome itself and force a surrender.  Though he ravaged the Italian countryside for several years and won several important battles, he was eventually defeated by the tactics of Quintus Fabius Maximus, who realized he could defeat Hannibal by attacking the one thing he could not replace–his men.  He began forcing Hannibal to fight small, costly engagements instead of direct conflicts.  These “Fabian” tactics are still used today; we know them as “wars of attrition.”  The constant skirmishes caused Hannibal’s limited manpower to dwindle to dangerous levels, and eventually forced his retreat as he still could not receive reinforcements from Carthage. 

Minard on Immigration

What better way to start the week than with another map by Charles Joseph Minard?  Cartographers and students of graphic design generally idolize Minard for his ability to translate large and complicated data sets into easily understandable formats.  I have previously covered one of Minard’s other works, but this map is just as interesting and incorporates some of the same principles as his map of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.

This map charts the numbers and destinations of emigrants from Europe, Africa, China, and South Asia for the year 1858.  Minard correlates the thickness of each line with the number of emigrants it represents, with one millimeter equalling 1,500 people.  He also overlays the exact number of emigrants (in thousands) over the lines themselves.  Minard carefully puts divergent lines together and pulls them apart to demonstrate the flow of immigration from major ports in Europe and Asia and toward different final destinations.  Finally, Minard also adds a color-coding system to further ease the identification of nationalities on the move, and places a legend in the top-right corner.  Click on here or on the picture above to open a large version of the picture.

Here is a translation of the title:

Rough and Figurative Map representative of the year 1858

The Emigrants of the World

The countries from where they depart and the ones where they arrive, drawn by Mr. Minard, Inspector General of Bridges and Roads in retirement, principally from the public records in “European Emigration” by Mr. A. Legoyt and the Merchant’s Magazine of New York.

Paris, 26 September 1862

And a translation of the legend:

Colors indicate the countries from where the Emigrants have left.

The numbers of Emigrants are represented by the width of the colored zones, with one millimeter representing fifteen hundred Emigrants; they are also expressed by the numbers written across the zones of which the unit is one thousand Emigrants.

Some aspects of the map jump out immediately: for instance, the outlines of the continents are fairly inaccurate–especially North America and Australia–and Europe is disproportionaly large.  But these inaccuracies don’t seem to diminish the impact of the map.

The top left quadrant is dominated by the large numbers of emigrants from Britain and Northern Europe.  But note that, according to Minard’s statistics, more Englishmen were emigrating to Australia than to the United States.  Also note the relatively small amount of French immigrants to America, especially compared to the large numbers from Northern Europe who faced similar language and cultural barriers.  There are small slivers of immigration from France, Northern Europe, and Britain to South America, and slightly more considerable numbers from France to its colony in Algeria.  The map also indicates that French immigrants to North America generally departed from Le Havre on the English Channel, whereas Frenchmen destined for South America left from Bayonne or Bordeaux.

The map also demonstrates the considerable flow of African labor to European colonies.  The thick lines from the Congo region to the Indian Ocean islands of Reunion, a French colony, and Mauritius, a British colony, represent the labor necessary to run the sugar plantations on those islands.  There are also thinner lines indicating African labor was still flowing to the Caribbean, to the French sugar islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, and to the British territories of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.  But as the map indicates, three times as many Africans were taken to Mauritius and Reunion as went to both the French and British territories in the Caribbean.  Note the lack of African labor traveling to the United States.  Although emancipation was still several years away in 1858, the U.S. Congress had banned the import of foreign slaves fifty years before, in 1808.

There are similar patterns in the immigration from South Asia.  Large numbers of laborers are shown leaving Madras and Calcutta for Mauritius and the Caribbean surgar islands.  Minard’s data indicates that although comparable numbers of people departed Madras and Calcutta for Mauritius, most of the laborers departing for the Caribbean departed from Calcutta, with only a tiny number leaving from Madras.

Finally, Minard illustrates three strands of Chinese emigration.  The first is to Australia, where it joins the large numbers of Britons arriving in Victoria.  The second is a thin line around the Cape of Good Hope and across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, mostly to Cuba, but with a tiny offshoot to Guadeloupe.  The third line disappears over the edge of the map into the Pacific ocean, toward distant California.

This map only represents one year of data, so multiply these statistics over several decades and it is obvious how North America in particular became a continent of immigrants.  The map is also designed well enough that, with the exception of knowing the subject of immigration, the data is generally understandable without needing to read the legend.

Notes: This map is based on the Library of Congress version accessible here.  I ran the picture through Photoshop to lighten it and make the colors a little brighter but I did not alter any of the components of the map itself.   And thanks to Mike for the translation!


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Cartographia is a blog about how we use maps to represent the world around us, and how people interpret maps today and throughout history. Please feel free to send any questions, comments, or recommendations directly to me at cartographia.blog@gmail.com.

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