Highlights from the Bartholomew Archive
The naming of Antarctica
Edinburgh geographer and mapmaker John George Bartholomew can be credited with the naming of Antarctica.
'Antarctic' had been used to describe the unknown frozen land mass in the south since the first century AD. However Bartholomew was the first person to publish a map of the region using the name 'Antarctica' for the continent.
Continent first labelled
The Bartholomew firm worked with oceanographer Sir John Murray to prepare maps of the southern hemisphere for the Challenger Commission reports in the 1880s.
In 1886 Bartholomew prepared a map to illustrate John Murray's address to the Royal Scottish Geographical Society on 'The exploration of the Antarctic regions'. This map formed the basis of the South Polar chart of the 1887 'Handy Reference Atlas', prepared by John Bartholomew for John Walker & Co. On the chart the continent is clearly labelled 'Antarctica' above the original description, 'Unexplored South Polar Continent'.
Name adopted by all
From then on the Bartholomew firm began to use 'Antarctica' in their own publications, in many maps prepared for Royal Scottish Geographical Society papers and for other publishers. Alternative names were proposed as exploration and discovery continued. But by the end of the 1920s 'Antarctica' had been firmly established.
Other highlights from the archive:
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom
- Botanical Survey of Scotland
- Gladstone and the 1880 General Election
- Survey Atlas of Scotland
- Half-inch to the mile maps
- Bathymetric Survey of Scottish lochs
- A National Institute of Geography
Top of page