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This is a fine example of George Frederick Cruchley's 1850 map of France. It covers all of France subdivided according to its various departments. An inset in the lower right quadrant details Corsica. The map is color coded according the departments with elevation shown by hachures. Several towns, rivers, cities, mountains, along with a host of other topographical features are also identified. 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.
Cruchley's General Atlas was unique for its period, employing a vivid color scheme extending even to the oceans, distinctive typography, and various uncommon decorative elements including a peacock feather crown and an imprint medallion, both of which break the printed border. Though many of the maps in this atlas are copyrighted in 1841, the atlas was first published in 1843 from the Cruchley office at 81 Fleet Street, London, and proving popular went through numerous reissues well into the 1850s.
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