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This is a fine example of Adam and Charles Black's 1851 map of France. The map covers France just prior to the December 2 1851 coup d'etat that brought about the Second empire. In less than a year, 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. It covers from 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.
The map divides France into its constituent Provinces. 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.
Various towns, cities, rivers, roads, railways, mountains and several other topographical details are noted with relief rendered by hachure. This map was engraved by John Bartholomew and issued as plate no. in xIV for the 1851 edition of Black's General Atlas of the World.
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