Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lady Anne Blunt in Northern Arabia

In March the Library of Congress posted a series of maps for Women's History Month on their geography and map blog. Their last post was a map showing the journeys of Lady Anne Blunt through northern Arabia.
Blunt was a British noblewoman who was famous for helping to save the purebred Arabian horse by buying and bringing horses to England. She was the first European woman to cross the Arabian desert in pursuit of these horses. As an interesting side note her mother, Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace is often regarded as the first computer programmer.

Blunt was not a cartographer but her place-specific descriptions of two journeys, in 1878 and 1879, allowed Edward Stanford, a London bookseller and mapmaker (creator of Stanfords Travel Guides) to create this remarkably detailed map.  It shows not just the physical geography of the land, but cultural features such as irrigation and grazing practices, tribal relations and pilgrimage routes.
Here are a couple more zoomed in views.

You can browse and/or download the entire map online at the Library of Congress.

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