Stanford’s Map of India


Gigantic color lithographed two sheet case map of India and Sri Lanka used as a tool for imperialism on the cusp of the First Indian War for Independence.

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This map has the appearance of a triumphant proclamation of the British East India Company’s success on the subcontinent. Bright colors represent the political status of the various regions depicted, most of which were under direct control of a European power. The bright red of the Empire is predominant throughout the image, and an inset map shows the extent of British territorial acquisitions even beyond what could have otherwise been shown on the map. Canals, roads, post offices, military posts and railways are all proudly displayed as testaments to the industrialization and “civilization” brought by the Company. Inset tables further the imperialist agenda, showing distance scales to Madras, Bombay and Calcutta, as well as a list of the latest territorial acquisitions in India.

The list would not grow past 1856 – the May after the year of publication would see the beginning of the First War of Independence. Two years of vicious fighting saw terrible atrocities committed, including the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Indian subjects due to famine, disease, and execution. Ultimately the rebellion would result in the disbanding of the East India Company and the transfer of the colony’s sovereignty to the British Crown in 1858, where it would remain until 1947.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1857

Author: Edward Stanford

Sheet Width (in): 48.00

Sheet Height (in): 31.75

Condition: B+

Condition Description: The map is dissected and mounted to linen on two sheets, as originally issued. With original slipcase. The sheets are in excellent shape, exhibiting little wear. Some smudging and discoloration throughout the image on both sheets, most evident around the borders.