An Atlas of Universal History in a Series of Maps of the World as Known At Different Periods


Updated edition of Quin’s marvelous and unusual atlas.

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At their root, maps reflect the political construction of the world at a specific point in time. However, understanding the changes of that organization across the ages can be a difficult and frustrating task. Edward Quin looked to resolve that problem by creating the maps of this atlas, first published in 1828.

The preface explains the idea perfectly – “The present volume is intended to place before the student a series of Progressive Maps, conveying at a glance the History of the World at various distinct episodes. The information thus presented – extending from era of the Deluge to the Peace of Paris in 1856 – is such as only could be obtained by consulting an almost endless variety of authorities.” It then goes on the describe how the uniform scale presented within the atlas allows that “every country remains in each subsequent map on the same spot and of the same dimensions.”

Quin employs a bold use of color, including extensive use of black clouds to hide portions unknown to the Western world, to differentiate between these countries. The first map “shows the spot from whence the History of the World takes its first date” and shows only a small area labeled as Eden near the Euphrates River. Subsequent pages in the atlas reveal successively more information as the world was explored by westerners through the Classical, Medieval and Renaissance eras. The final map, unique to this later version engraved by Sidney Hall, shows the global geopolitical status at the end of the Treaty of Paris in 1856.

The atlas was printed by Richard Griffin Company in Glasgow in 1857. Apart from the three page preface and title page, it contains 21 maps of varying sizes from 11″ x 13.5″ (standard double folio) to larger fold out maps up to 13.8″ x 19.8″ The maps included in the atlas are as follows:

B.C. 2348 – The Deluge

B.C. 1491 – At the Exodus of the Israelites

B.C. 753 – At the Foundation of Rome

B.C. 529 – The Empire of Cyrus

B.C. 323 – The Empire of Alexander

B.C. 301 – Division of the Empire of Alexander

B.C. 146 – Rise of the Roman Empire

A.D. 1 – The Empire of Augustus

A.D. 337 – The Empire of COnstantine

A.D. 395 – The Division of the Roman Empire

A.D. 476 – Dissolution of the Western Empire

A.D. 814 – The Empire of Charlemagne

A.D. 912 – Dissolution of the Empire of Charlemagne

A.D. 1100 – At the Period of the First Crusades

A.D. 1294 – The Tartar Empire of Jenghis Khan

A.D. 1498 – The Discovery of America

A.D. 1551 – At the Death of Charles V. of Germany

A.D. 1660 – At the Restoration of the Stuarts

A.D. 1783 – At the Separation of the United States of America from England

A.D. 1811 – The Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte

A.D. 1856 – At The Peace of Paris


Map Details

Publication Date: 1857

Author: Edward Quin

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Condition: A-

Condition Description: The atlas is in excellent condition, with original rich quarter red leather binding and publisher's stamp. Some fraying along the spine, and a damp stain on the front cover. Minor spotting and foxing throughout the pages and verso of the maps, but all 21 sheets are clean and intact. Certain maps are folded, and thus have creasing along those lines.