Mapping in colonial times: La Côte française des Somalis et contrées avoisinantes by Alexandre Meunier (1908-1909)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionCybergeo : revue européenne de géographie. 2022, 2022 . 10.4000/cybergeo.39739
Alexandre Meunier (1870-1942), a forgotten French cartographer working for the "Service Géographique" at the Colonial Ministry, contributed heavily to the production of maps over the French colonial empire. Among his maps, were 3 maps (Djibouti, Harrar and Addis Ababa) on La Côte française des Somalis et contrées avoisinantes, published in 1908-1909. The maps are analysed combining analysis of the map design and their thematic contents as well as their colonial discourse. The geo-political context of the time and the institutional aspects surrounding their publication are brought forward. Beyond the wish to give Alexandre Meunier a place he deserves in the history of cartography, this paper intends to shed light on this particular type of map produced under the colonial scramble in the Horn of Africa where Italy, Great Britain and France competed together on Abyssinia. It shows how apparently ordinary maps contributed to colonial rivalries and international diplomacy.