Waterlow and Company, A Map of South Africa presented by Sammel Brothers Limited.

Waterlow and Company, A Map of South Africa presented by Sammel Brothers Limited.



Published 1913, London

Size: 25" X 39.5"

Condition: Backed on linen. Few surface mends with minor loss.


A very rare and uncatalogued map of South Africa to promote the London based  import/export company of Sammel Brothers Limited with insets of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Bulawayo, and Johannesburg.  The map is of particular interest as it was published at the tail end of the “scramble of Africa” by European powers and on the eve of World War I that broke out shortly after it was published. 

Included on this important map are statistics of the Union of South Africa and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) for the year of 1912.  These notations provide information as to the geographical size in square miles of Cape Colony, Natal, Orange Free State, Transvaal and Rhodesia, as well as to their respective population size broken down between “whites” and “natives and coloured”, and finally to the types of imports from Rhodesia and the grand total of its exports.  Imagery of the different types of imports/exports are also shown, as are views of the Durban and Port Elizabeth Warehouses of Sammel Brothers Limited, and the East London Warehouses for the Skin and Hides and Wool exports of this company.  The bottom right hand quadrant also includes a view of the head offices of the Sammel Brothers Limited company located at 16, Mincing Lane, London, flanked by views of their important warehouses in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The map further depicts the railways routes both established and under construction or proposed, as well as the grazing areas set aside for the animals associated with their export goods such as cattle, elephants, sheep, horses, and ostriches. Locations of mineral deposits are also shown. 

As indicated, the map is extremely rare with no records existing of copies located in institutional collections.  Yet this map is of importance in understanding not only the local aspects of one company’s South African commercial interests, but also helps depict the essence of one of the pillars of the British Empire’s power prior to its demise beginning shortly after its printing.  Whereas India has often been deemed as the “Jewel” in the crown of the British Empire, one could say that South Africa was the gold in its bank.  It is important to note that it has been argued that one of the underlying causes of the Boer War at the turn of the 20th Century, was for the control and exploitation of the Witwatersrand gold-mining complex, the largest gold mine at the time when the monetary system was backed by this rare metal.  Furthermore, Britain’s power on a global scale was also based on the protection, by its Navy, of the trade routes so that commercial interests, such as those of the Sammel Brother Limited company, could thrive for the benefit of its British shareholders.  With the effects of  World War I and especially those associated with World War II, Britain lost its ability to defend these routes, and the monetary system moved from the gold standard to a fiat based system with the American dollar becoming the reserve currency and the United States inheriting the mantel of the Western hegemonic power.