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This is a fine example of Adam and Charles Black's 1844 map of France. It covers from the Nord in the north to eastern Pyrenees in the south and from Finistere in the west to Upper and Lower Rhein the east. An inset map near the lower right corner details Corsica. Various towns, cities, rivers, roads, railways, mountains and several other topographical details are noted with relief rendered by hachure.
The map divides France into its constituent Departments. The French Department system was established on March 4th, 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure. They were designed to deliberately break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Initially there were 83 departments but by 1800 that number increased to roughly 130. Many of the departments that were created in 1790 remain the administrative districts to this day. Nonetheless, the province system was so engrained that most cartographers felt obliged to include two maps of France in their atlases, one showing the current department system, and another defining the defunct provinces.
This time in French history marked the rule of the July Monarchy, a liberal constitutional monarchy under King Louis-Philippe. The July Monarchy would last until the Revolution of 1848 and ultimately lead to the establishment of the Second Republic. In less than a year after the December 2, 1851 coup d'etat, the Second Republic transformed into the Second Empire, established by a referendum on November 7, 1852. President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, elected by the heavily Bonapartist French people, officially became Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, from the symbolic and historic date of December 2, 1852.
This map was engraved by Sidney Hall and issued as plate nos. in xV and in xVI for the 1844 edition of Black's General Atlas.
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