Early maps of one of the most volatile countries on earth.
This extraordinarily rare collection features 20 vintage maps of 18th century Liberia when it was first being charted out by the American Colonization Society. The map images have been masterfully restored, and the impact is further enhanced by cutting-edge MrSID viewing technology which allows you to zoom in and out on any of the portrayed maps after clicking on their thumbnails.
Robert Finley established the American Colonization Society in 1817 in a cross-sociological attempt at satisfying American philanthropists, clergy and abolitionist who wanted to free African slaves and their descendants, and also the slave owners who feared free people of color and wanted to expel them from America. The prevalent sentiment amongst both these groups was that free African Americans would never find a suitable place in white American society. The ACS lobbied Congress and the President for support and, in 1819, received $100,000 from Congress. In January 1820 the first ship, the Elizabeth, sailed from New York headed for West Africa with three white ACS agents and 88 emigrants.
The ship finally arrived at what is now the Northern coast of Liberia and made an effort to establish a settlement. All three whites and 22 of the emigrants died within three weeks from yellow fever. However, a settlement did finally take hold. It consisted of mostly free-born colored people who were not born into slavery but were denied the full rights of American citizenship. In 1842, Joseph Jenkins Roberts became the first non-white governor of Liberia. In 1847, the legislature of Liberia declared itself an independent state. Liberian society developed into three segments comprising of the settlers with European-African lineage, freed slaves from slave ships and the West Indies; and indigenous native people.
Since this was a government-sponsored effort, each stage of the project was obviously elaborately charted and documented. The surviving ACS maps comprise an important part of American history.
"The maps of the world drawn by the medieval cartographers...... elicit condescending smiles today, when almost the entire surface of the earth has been charted. Yet, the great explorers could never have discovered the New World without them. Nor could the better, more accurate maps of today have been drawn until men, working with the limited evidence available to them, set down on paper their bold conceptions of worlds they had never seen."
--Alvin Toeffler (Future Shock)
The 20 extremely rare vintage maps assembled on this remarkable CD from A2ZCDS have been retrieved from 18th century American Colonization Society's archives. The impact is further enhanced by cutting-edge MrSID viewing technology. These historical treasures show the earliest results of the ACS efforts to resettle free black Americans in West Africa. Included in this historic map collection are:
*A sketch of the Careysburg Road, made by William Douglass in December, 186
*Maryland in Liberia, drawn under the superintendence of Com. Lynch, U.S.N. at Wm. Sides Office, Baltimore.
*The map of a journey to Musardu, the capital of the Western Mandingoes, by Benjamin Anderson, 1868-69.
*St. Paul's River, Liberia, at its mouth, surveyed by Captain Kelly, drawn by H.R.W. Johnson. This is the survey of a route for a canal to connect the Mesurado and Junk Rivers in Liberia made by Daniel B. Warner and H.R.W. Johnson in 1867.
*A map of the West Coast of Africa from Sierra Leone to Cape Palmas, including the colony of Liberia, compiled chiefly from the surveys and observations of the late Rev. J. Ashmun.
*Liberia and its vicinity.
*A map of Liberia, compiled from the best authorities for the report of Rev. R.R. Gurley on the condition of Liberia, 1850.
*A map of Liberia, compiled from data on file in the office of the American Colonization Society, under the direction of the Rev. W. McLain.
*Republic of Liberia, drawn under the superintendence of Com. Lynch, U.S.N., at Wm. Sides Office, Baltimore.
*The northwest part of Montserrado County, Liberia in ten mile squares.
These and every other historic map featured on this fascinating CD can be viewed with the innovative MrSID (Multi-resolution Seamless Image Database) software (to download this software, please click on the supplied link). MrSID technology allows you to zoom in and out on any of the portrayed maps after clicking on their thumbnails. This facilitates the viewing of each part in complete detail.
You don't have to be either a cartographer or historian to feel the historic impact of these maps. The platform on which the American Colonization Society based and enacted its efforts is, by contemporary standards, highly questionable. The fact that Liberia finally emerged as a country has nothing to do with the original intentions behind its colonization. The horrendous conditions that prevail there even do today. The fact that Liberia exists at all stands as mute testimony to the fact that African Americans have been underestimated as a matter of historical course.
The American writer, philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau once said: "It is no man's obligation as a matter of course to engage in the eradication of even the most enormous wrong. But if he decides not to pay it his attention, he should not lend it his support." Here is a chance to consider the history of this war-torn land up close, and to decide what our standpoint should be. I, personally, think of Liberia as a failed experiment. The country has a highly unstable economy that is not capable of sustaining its inhabitants. People are leaving it in large numbers, driven by the insecurity inherent in every passing day. The capital city, Monrovia - the once robust capital city of Africa's oldest independent nation - has no electricity, no pipe-borne water and no working sewer system.
In the light of this, America's earliest, self-centered efforts to colonize it are of special significance. Something that has been begun with the wrong motives must eventually fall. This map collection of Liberia's earliest settlements on CD can and does serve as food for intense thought, and I strongly recommend its study.
"If you have ever been to Liberia (I have) you will never forget it. It is at once breathtakingly beautiful and horrendously squalid. It is because of my six-month tenure there that this collection (Antique Maps of Liberia CD) was an absolute must buy' for me. Thanks for this historic and completely fascinating compilation."
"These maps prompted me to do some personal Internet investigations on this country (Liberia) that we read about so much in the papers. And guess what? It all makes sense. These maps were drawn by Americans in an America steeped in the depths of racial discrimination. On the other hand, they faithfully record the first colonization attempts. I have mixed but certainly not complacent feelings after browsing through this incredible collection of maps."
Customer's Name: Abraham Fielding II (Colchester, Vermont)
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