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Important Map of the Lower Nile Illustrating The Modernization of The Irrigation Canals in Northern Egypt

Rare separately published hydrographical map of the Lower Nile, illustrating the progress of two and half decades of work modernizing Egypt's irrigation canals, by order of Mehemet-Ali (Mohammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha), under the direction of Louis Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds.

The present map is the one of three maps of Egypt published by Bellefonds:

  • Carte Hydrographique de la Basse Egypte et d'une Partie de l'Isthme de Suez . . .
  • Carte Hydrographique de la Moyenne ...
  • Carte Hydrographique de la Partie Septentrionale de la Haute Egypte ...

The map shows roads, waterways, and irrigation canals in the areas of Mellaweh, Manfalout, Siout, Aboutig, Sohag, and Girgé. Map was produced, upon Vicory of Egypt's orders showing the work progress in irrigation projects in the provinces of the north portion of Upper Egypt.  

Mehemet-Ali is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt because of the dramatic reforms in the military, economic and cultural spheres that he instituted.   The map includes extensive annotations.

Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds

The map is credited to Louis Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds (1799-1883), a French explorer in Egypt who served as chief engineer of public works of Upper Egypt (1831-1869), overseeing the construction of canals, bridges and roads all over the country and Minister of Public Works and member of the Privy Council of the Viceroy in 1869.  Linant oversaw the modernization of Egypt's network of irrigation canals and grand levees along the Nile.

Linant was also one of the most influential engineers in connection with the Suez Canal and a founding member of the Suez Canal Company.  As early as 1830, he began expressing an interest in a project lining the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, first with the consul general of France, then with Ferdinand de Lesseps. In 1841 he submitted a preliminary plan for a canal to the Compagnie Péninsulaire et Orientale. In 1844, he presented Lesseps with a complete plan. In 1854 Lesseps obtained from the viceroy Muhammad Sa'id the firman for the canal concession on behalf of the Compagnie universelle du canal maritime de Suez,  and Linant was named chief engineer.


The map is quite rare on the market. We locate 2 copies at auction in the past 30 years.

OCLC locates 6 copies (Paris-Coll France-Egypte, Paris-Museum Historique Naturelle, Library of Congress, University of Minnesota, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Universitaet Goettingen).


With Library stamp for Paris publisher and mapseller Emile Andriveau-Goujon.

Condition Description
Segmented and laid on linen, as issued. With Library stamp for Paris mapseller Emile Andriveau-Goujon.