Petermann’s Map of László Magyar’s Travels in Angola: Its Sources, Compilation and Contents

Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


This article is a further attempt by the authors to throw light on the cartography of the Hungarian explorer and traveller, László Magyar (1818–1864). In the mid-nineteenth century, Magyar was one of the first Europeans to travel extensively in central Africa in an area which today forms part of Angola. His reports on his travels were published in both Hungary and Germany. Magyar also compiled two manuscript maps, one in 1857 and one in 1858. In 1860 his 1858 manuscript map was used by August Petermann for an article and a map inPetermann’s Geographische Mitteilungen (PGM) which reported on Magyar’s travels. With the original map considered lost afterwards, the PGM map was the only authentic cartographic evidence of Magyar’s travels in inner Angola for almost 150 years. In 2007, the question of what the 1858 manuscript map looked like, was solved when the authors found an exact copy of the map in the Cholnoky Map collection of the Babeş–Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca in Romania (Nemerkényi, Bartos-Elekes 2012). In this article the authors report on their further research and their discovery in 2011 of a similar, but not identical, copy of Magyar’s 1858 map in the Perthes Collection in Gotha. Using cartometric and qualitative methods, and the maps of travellers contemporary to Magyar such as Graça and Livingstone, they analyse the contents and speculate on the possible sources of the 1860 PGM map. They also highlight the relationship between the maps of Magyar, Graça and Livingstone, and the influence these maps exerted on the European cartography of central Africa of the time. For the benefit of the reader some of the illustrative material used in their previous article on Magyar’s cartography is also included here.


Editorial Work Northeastern Section Geographical Grid Scientific Circle Distortion Grid 
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We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Dr. Imre Demhardt in arranging our visit to the Perthes Research Library in Gotha. We are also indebted to Prof. Elri Liebenberg for her supervision when writing this article. Special thanks to Dr. Petra Weigel (Gotha Research Library) for allowing the publication of the original manuscript maps.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Babeş–Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Eötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

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