Charte von den Arabischen Meerbusen nebst den Egiptischen, Ethiopischen, und Arabischen…


Immaculately engraved map showing Bruce’s travels in search of the source of the Nile.

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The adventures of the Scotsman James Bruce could make for a riveting Hollywood story line. The hero, a descendant of King Robert the Bruce, picks up an interest in Roman antiquities and treks throughout much of North Africa. His search for the source of the Blue Nile sees him near death from malaria, in disguise as a Turkish sailor, and appointed to the Royal Court in Ethiopia. Underlying the whole narrative is a conspiracy that Bruce, alleged ancestor of a member of the Templar Order, was actually looking for the Ark of the Covenant!

Movie plots aside, upon the return from his great adventure in 1790, Bruce published several maps in an elaborate rendition of his story – this is a German version of one such map issued by Weigel and Schneider in 1792. It shows a remarkable amount of detail in Egypt, Abyssinia, and around the Red Sea, including relief topography, caravan routes, oases and inset maps of important harbors. Bruce’s description of the country prompted scorn among contemporary geographers, but a significant body of the new information on this map would eventually find its way onto maps by later publishers, including Cary, Thompson and Arrowsmith. However, the depiction of the branches of the Nile is less than accurate. After the split between the two in Nubia, the White Nile is shortened to an alleged source in the Christian kingdom of Caffa, while the Blue Nile (which Bruce thought the more important of the two) is shown as longer and more detailed.

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1792

Author: Christoph Weigel

Sheet Width (in): 20.75

Sheet Height (in): 26.5

Condition: B

Condition Description: The map is in very good condition with some soiling, creases and separations along fold lines.