Carte Géographique, Statistique et Historique du District de Colombie

Here is a very unique map of Washington, D.C. from 1825. This is (obviously) a French map and it comes from an incredible map collection we stumbled upon, run by David Rumsey.

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Carte geographique, statistique et historique du District de Colombie
Carte geographique, statistique et historique du District de Colombie

Source: David Rumsey map collection.

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  • Interesting things about this map:

    1) When did “Greenleaf Point” become “Buzzard Point”? I like green leaves more than buzzards. Let’s have more green leaves.

    2) Interesting that the measurements for the buildings are in feet, rather than meters–despite the fact that France adopted the meter as its official measure of length in 1793. I wonder how long it took for the metric system to take hold, especially in Restoration France.

    3) The blurb on the climate of Washington is extremely apt: “The climate is the same as that in the contiguous parts of Maryland and Virginia. One may say, in general, that the summers are very hot and the winters very cold. The spring is variable, and the autumn is very agreeable.”

    4) Under “Commerce et Manufactures,” there’s a terse and interesting account of the economy of the District. “The exports of the District, in 1820, amounted to a sum of 1,204,915 dollars, and imports of 48,447 dollars.” Apparently, DC in the Era of Good Feelings had a very robust trade surplus!

    5) The chart is marked “Fonderie et imprimerie de J. Carez.” a bit of Googling turns up J.Carez as a Paris printer/publisher. It seems as if there was a complete set of these historical surveys published around 1825.