Steel engraving, 34.5 x 25 cm, original outline colour, map of the overland route to India engraved by John Rapkin with vignettes (Malta, Suez, Aden, the mail crossing the desert etc.) by James Harfield Kernot after H. Warren, blank verso; published in the ‘Illustrated Atlas’.
Described by Palmerston as ‘the world’s most important trade route’, there were four principal overland routes to India: the Mail Steam Packet, Marseilles, German and Euphrates routes – all alternatives to the Cape Route. Our map predates the Suez Canal (opened in 1869) which followed the route pioneered by Thomas Fletcher Waghorn. Thanks in no small measure to Waghorn’s activities, by the mid 19th century the journey time had been reduced to about 40 days (from three months or more which was usual at the beginning of the century).