Charles Joseph Minard was a master of using simple sizes to indicate relationships. In this map, as with his famous chart of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, Minard expertly relates the volume of tonnage shipped through European ports and on European rivers to the size of the lines and circles representing them.
Minard developed this map from data on port and river tonnage in the mid 1850s. The numbers over each circle are the volume of products shipped in thousands of tons. For this map, Minard includes all ports that carry over 200,000 tons of cargo per year. For the rivers, each millimeter of thickness represents 100,000 tons of shipping.
The movement of commerce across the continent is presented starkly through the thickness of the rivers and the area of the ports. Britain, a worldwide commercial leader, has Europe’s two largest ports in London and Liverpool. Only Constantinople and Marseilles present any challenge to Britain’s remaining ports for volume of tonnage.
Britain, however, has no river shipping listed. Northwestern Europe–the Netherlands, France, and northwestern Germany–have tremendous shipping along their rivers. The Elbe and the Rhine account for a majority of this shipping. With Germany still not unified but with a burgeoning manufacturing sector, all the commercial products had to travel to sea via rivers. Even today, the Dutch port of Rotterdam handles the world’s highest annual shipping tonnage.
The Russian Empire, with its vast distances and few railroads, made good use of its navigable rivers to transports goods. Sadly, the area on the map around the mouth of the Volga, in the Caspian Sea, is damaged. Otherwise, we would also know the volume of goods leaving and entering Russia via Central Asia.
The Danube, flowing with goods while in Austrian territory, ships virtually none at all through the barely-industrialized Ottoman Empire until it approaches the sea once more. For an empire so large, the Austrian seaports of Trieste and Venice handle little cargo, representing the Austrian reliance on overland shipping from Central Europe
In France, the Seine itself does not transport a tremendous amount of cargo; but its tributary the Oise carries huge amounts of goods from the manufacturing centers in northern France to the markets of Paris. Similarly, the Rhone carries little international shipping; most of its cargo begins and ends its journey in France. via
Minard’s Map of British Coal Exports
Britain was the world’s leading industrial power for most of the 1800s. 19th Century industrial production relied on coal–it powered factories, heated homes, and was essential for producing steel–and as an industrial power Britain relied on coal to make it great. Most British coal was used domestically, but some was exported to support burgeoning industrial needs in other parts of the world. Charles Joseph Minard, the well-regarded economic cartographer, produced this excellent map of British coal exports for the year 1864.
As with most of Minard’s works, this map relates the thickness of each export line to the amount of coal it represents. Here, each millimeter of thickness represents 20,000 tons of coal. The numbers written over or beside the lines represent the total number of tons of coal, in thousands. Click here or on the picture above to see the full map. Minard also included a fascinating graph of the eventual uses of all British-mined coal in the upper right. More on that graph later.
The map clearly demonstrates that the majority of British coal exports were destined for use in Western Europe–in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the German states, and Scandinavia. A smaller but still significant amount was exported to Russia (via both the Baltic and Black Seas) and the Ottoman Empire.
The coal that was not shipped to Europe was distributed across the remaining five populated continents, but not evenly: Australia and Africa (with the exception of British-controlled Egypt) imported hardly any coal at all, whereas China and India imported much more. South America also imported a significant amount of British coal–much of it to Brazil, Chile, or Peru. Canada and the United States imported a relatively small amount–the former possibly due to its lower population, and the latter probably due to large domestic coal production.
The map show some interesting details about international trade during the mid 1860s. Malta, Singapore, and especially Cuba imported large amounts of coal given their relative size and levels of industrialization. Malta and Singapore, at least, were British colonies; but Cuba was a Spanish possession, showing how much the dwindling Spanish Empire had come to rely on foreign industry to sustain itself.
Though St. Petersburg was the Russian capital at the time, the majority of Russian coal imports from the Baltic Sea were instead destined for the city of Kronstadt, located on an island off the coast of St. Petersburg. Kronstadt was the headquarters of the Russian Baltic Fleet, and its steam-powered battlecruisers consumed coal at a tremendous rate.
Prussia’s growing power in Germany is shown by the amount of coal it imported from the Baltic, peeling off into multiple ports. But Minard also indicates that a rather large amount of coal was still being imported to the German North Sea ports and destined for the “Villes Anseatiques”–the cities of the old Hanseatic League, a Renaissance-era trading guild that had become defunct in all but name in the 1600s. Interestingly, however, the German cities of Lubeck, Hamburg, and Bremenmaintained the pretenses of the League until 1862–only two years before the data for this map was gathered. It is unclear whether Minard refers to the imports of the last three cities, or of a collection of older member cities. At the very least, the use of this nomenclature shows the continuing decentralization of Germany, which would not change until German unification under Prussia at the beginning of the next decade.
Finally, the map also shows the continuing economic importance of the Caribbean islands. More coal was imported by those small specks of land than by the rest of North America combined.
Minard also included an interesting chart in the upper right-hand corner of the map, showing the amount of British coal produced for each year between 1850 and 1864, and how it was used. Click here or on the picture below to see a close-up of the chart. The graph shows the tremendous changes in coal production over only a decade and a half–an increase of nearly 100% from just over 50 million to nearly 95 million tons. Of this, less than 10% was ever exported–meaning that the British domestic market was consuming nine times as much coal as is shown as exported in the main map.
The major uses of British coal, according to the chart, are: the production of iron (“Fer”) and cast iron (“Fonte”), gas lighting (“Eclairage au gas”), steam engines in ships and trains (“Navires a Vapeur et Chemins de Fer”), and domestic fireplaces (“Foyers Domestiques”). A large amount of this production was also specifically slated for use in London, showing how that city was the major center of British industry.
This is the second post in our continuing “Mondays with Minard” series, exhibiting Charles Joseph Minard’s excellent cartographic handiwork. This map was photographed specifically for use here at Cartographia from the collections of the Library of Congress. Feel free to reproduce the map in any way you wish, but please cite us as the source. The original map is in fairly good quality, but I ran the picture through Photoshop to improve the contrast and make the colors more vibrant for the sake of clarity. via
Minard: Cotton and Wool Comparisons
During the Civil War, the Confederacy attempted to use “Cotton Diplomacy” to force Europe’s major industrial nations to enter the war. The strategy was simple–British and French textile mills depended on Southern cotton, and if that cotton was cut off because of the war, it would force the European powers to intervene in the conflict to save their domestic industries. The strategy failed, of course, in spite of the near elimination of Southern cotton from the international market during the war. Today’s map gives a hint as to why.
The map above is a curious comparative map of the quantities of cotton and wool imported to Europe in 1858 and 1861. Blue represents cotton and wool from the United States, the orange from British territories in South Asia, and brown from the Levant (the East Mediterranean). Pink represents cotton and wool imported to Britain that was subsequently re-exported to Europe. There is also a small sliver of imports from Brazil, also in a light blue, though the original color may have faded. One millimeter represents 5,000 tons of cotton or wool. Click here or on the picture above to see the map enlarged.
In 1861, the Union had not yet implemented its wartime blockade of the South, and cotton and wool could still be exported. Nevertheless, the British were facing continuous demand and worried about the stability of their suppliers. As such, they ramped up production of cotton in India and elsewhere in South Asia, clearly visible on the map.
When the South eventually was fully blockaded, it was this South Asian source of cotton, as well as additional new production, that kept Continental textile mills in operation and prevented Cotton Diplomacy from succeeding. In fact, in 1861, re-exports of cotton and wool from Britain to the Continent actually increased.
Minard also includes a line chart of cotton and wool production and imports over 30 years. This chart is interesting in its own right, as it shows how the Industrial Revolution and the Cotton Gin dramatically increased the demand for and production of cotton. Click here or on the picture below to see the graph in a larger size.
Although this map does not show as stark of a comparison as other Minard maps, it still serves to show a clever framwork for cartographic comparison.
This is a post in our continuing “Mondays with Minard” series, exhibiting Charles Joseph Minard’s excellent cartographic handiwork. This map was photographed specifically for use here at Cartographia from the collections of the Library of Congress. via
Charles Joseph Minard's map of World immigration Date: 1862
Carte Figurative et Approximative du Mouvemens des Voyageurs sur les principaux Chemins de Fer de l'Europe en 1862