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One of the Great Mappings of Russian America.

Rare and important large-format map Russian- and French-language of the Russian Empire in the 1820s, including, in the lower-left, one of the most detailed printed maps of Russian America (present-day Alaska) made during its relative heyday.

The map was made by Vassily Pyadyshev (1758-1835) with the words engraved by Yeryomin. Pyadyshev was head of the cartographic bureau and was one of the preeminent Russian mapmakers of his era. 

The Library of Congress entry for the map includes the following description:

This 1827 map of the Russian Empire is from a larger work, Geograficheskii atlas Rossiiskoi imperii, tsarstva Pol'skogo i velikogo kniazhestva Finliandskogo (Geographical atlas of the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Poland, and the Grand Duchy of Finland), containing 60 maps of the Russian Empire. Compiled and engraved by Colonel V.P. Piadyshev, it reflects the detailed mapping carried out by Russian military cartographers in the first quarter of the 19th century. The map shows population centers (five gradations by size), fortresses, redoubts, roads (four types), provincial and district borders, plants, and factories. Distances are shown in versts, a Russian measure, now no longer used, equal to 1.07 kilometers. Legends and place-names are in Russian and French. A table of distances between the provincial cities is located in the bottom right corner. The map covers the Russian Empire in the early 19th century, including Finland, parts of Poland, and Alaska (Russian America). Turkestan and the area around Vladivostok are not included in this atlas, as these regions were annexed by the Russian Empire later in the 19th century.

Russian America

The map's detailed depiction of Russian America will be of primary interest to the American viewer. In the general map, the western coastline of Alaska is depicted from the ice flows of the artic in the north through all of the Aleutian chain in the south. The inset map in the lower-left starts just west of Kodiak Island and covers all of the southern coastline through the present-day Alaskan panhandle.

The following communities are located and labeled:

  • Трехъ Святителей [Three Saints, on Kodiak]
  • Павловская [Pavlovskaya]
  • Георгиевская [Georgievskaya]
  • Александровская [Aleksandrovskaya]
  • Кр. и Гавань Константина и Елены [Fort and Harbor of Constantine and Helena]

Interestingly, Sitka (Novo-Arkhangelsk) is not named, though the strait is.

We extend our thanks to Pavel Vedernikov for his assistance in cataloging this map.

Condition Description
Original hand-color in outline. Six sheets joined as one. Damage to the top edge, particularly in a section where the French-language key has been partially lost and backed with later paper. Toning and staining. Partially erased red ink German stamp and blue ink Russian information in the upper right corner.