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An exceptionally detailed map of the sources of the White Nile published by John Manuel, a member of L'Institut d'Egypte, under the direction of Ismail Pasha-Khedvie.

The map provides a remarkable overview of the sources of the Nile and the regions coveted by Isma'il Pasha, then the ruler of Egypt and Sudan. Extending South to Lake Tanganyika and the area around Dar es Salaam.

The map is also a remarkable overview of the explorations in the region, showing the routes of numerous explorers, including:

  • Livingstone (Yellow)
  • Sir Richard Burton (Blue)
  • Speke and Grand (Orange)
  • Baker (Green)
  • English Expedition to Abyssinia (Gray)
  • Baron of Deken (Purple)
  • Johannes Rehbmann and Johann Krapf (Red)

The title translates as:

Map of White Nile Sources and Its Affluents - To Serve and Assist the Extension and Development of Trade Operations with Eastern and Equatorial Sudan. . . Published Under the Auspices of His Highness Ismail Pasha-Khedive By John Manuel. . . 1870

Isma'il Pasha

Isma'il Pasha, known as Ismail the Magnificent (1830 - 1895), was the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1863 to 1879, when he was removed at the insistence of the United Kingdom. Sharing the ambitious outlook of his grandfather, Muhammad Ali Pasha, he greatly modernized Egypt and Sudan during his reign, investing heavily in industrial and economic development, urbanization, and the expansion of the country's boundaries in Africa.

His philosophy can be glimpsed at in a statement that he made in 1879: "My country is no longer in Africa; we are now part of Europe. It is therefore natural for us to abandon our former ways and to adopt a new system adapted to our social conditions."

In 1867, he also secured Ottoman and international recognition for his title of Khedive (Viceroy) in preference to Wāli (Governor) which was previously used by his predecessors in the Ottoman Eyalet of Egypt and Sudan (1517-1867). However, Isma'il's policies placed the Ottoman Khedivate of Egypt and Sudan (1867-1914) in severe debt, leading to the sale of the country's shares in the Suez Canal Company to the United Kingdom, and his ultimate loss of power.

Ismail was constantly working to extend his realm across the entire Nile including its diverse sources. This, together with rumors about rich raw material and fertile soil, led Ismail to expansive policies directed against Ethiopia under the Emperor Yohannes IV. In 1865, the Ottoman Sublime Porte ceded the Ottoman Province of Habesh (with Massawa and Suakin at the Red Sea as the main cities of that province) to Ismail. This province, neighbor of Ethiopia, first consisted of a coastal strip only, but expanded subsequently inland into territory controlled by the Ethiopian ruler.

Ismail occupied regions originally claimed by the Ottomans when they had established the province (eyaleti) of Habesh in the 16th century. New economically promising projects, like huge cotton plantations in the Barka delta, were started. In 1872 Bogos (with the city of Keren) was annexed by the governor of the new "Province of Eastern Sudan and the Red Sea Coast", Werner Munzinger Pasha. In October 1875, Ismail's army occupied the adjacent highlands of Hamasien, which were then tributary to the Ethiopian Emperor.

In March 1876 Ismail's army suffered a dramatic defeat after an attack by Yohannes's army at Gura'. Ismail's son Hassan was captured by the Ethiopians and only released after a large ransom. This was followed by a long cold war, only finishing in 1884 with the Anglo-Egyptian-Ethiopian Hewett Treaty, when Bogos was given back to Ethiopia. The Red Sea Province created by Ismail and his governor Munzinger Pasha was taken over by the Italians shortly thereafter and became the territorial basis for the Colonia Eritrea (proclaimed in 1890).


The map is very rare. OCLC locates only the examples in the British Library and Bibliotheque National de France.

Condition Description
2 sheets, unjoined.