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!