By the mid-nineteenth century, Victorian explorers' reports were beginning at last to fill in the blank spaces on the map of Africa. Enough details were available for regional maps, and so New York map-maker J.H. Colton produced this depiction of southern Africa, titled "Africa (Southern Sheet)" in 1855 in his highly successful Atlas Of The World, Illustrating Physical And Political Geography. The coast in particular matches that of modern maps, whereas the interior has no major inconsistencies. The original map measures 16 by 18.5 inches.
This map is from a rare book by Colton, the Cabinet Atlas. It depicts significant information absent from other maps of the period. Such details as mineral deposits and trade routes across the deserts are shown. The African great lakes of Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika are shown as a large (non-existent) inland sea. Several elevational profiles are around the edge of the map which is elaborately bordered as typical of Colton's efforts.