At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Britain was consolidating its colonial holdings and emerging as the world's foremost naval power. The need for accurate and detailed maps led to a government support and encouragement of map-makers. Yet Africa's interior at this time was still poorly known (although the coast is accurately drawn). But Britain needed maps to explore the continent. This thirst for knowledge created a need for high quality cartography and paved the way for mapmakers such as John Cary.
Who was John Cary?
Considered among the most important cartographers and map publishers of the late Georgian
period, John Cary (17541835) raised the standard of draughtsmanship and copper engraving. His maps were designed to be used and
emphasized content and functionality with a minimal of superfluous decoration. In 1794 Cary was commissioned by the General Post Office
to measure the post and mail-coach road.