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This is a lovely example of Adam and Charles Black's 1844 map of France. The map covers the Kingdom of France showing its various divisions according to province. It covers from the Flanders in the north to Roussillon in the south and from Brittany in the west to Alsace in the east. An inset map on the lower right corner details Corsica. Throughout, the map identifies various cities, towns, rivers, lakes, roadways, railways and an assortment of additional topographical details.
France was organized into provinces until March 4, 1790, when the National Constituent Assembly reorganized the Provinces into Departments. The change was an attempt to eradicate local loyalties based on feudal ownership of land and focus all loyalty on the central government in Paris. There were roughly 40 provinces in France before they were abolished. 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 J. Bartholomew for issue as plate no. in xIV in the 1844 edition of Black's General Atlas.
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