National Geographic : 1897 May
GEOGRAPHIC LITERATURE Franco-Prussian war broke out, and England, having declared her neu trality, refused to allow French ships to coal at Aden. The French gov ernment then officially took possession of Sheik Said by making it a coaling station and a refuge for French warships. After the treaty of Frankfort Sheik Said was abandoned. Raband & Bazin continued to occupy it for some time, but finally withdrew, after lodging a declaration as to their rights and ownership with the Turkish authorities. In 1884 the French press again took up the subject, and the government sent out some surveyors and engineers, who found the place occupied by a Turkish garrison. In 1885 the Turkish government officially announced its occupa tion by a notice published in a newspaper of Sana, the capital of the Yemen. It is very evident that the occupation-I mean a thorough military occu pation-of Sheik Said would be of the highest importance to France in view of the enormous development of her colonial empire, and especially of England's continued occupation of Egypt. The way to the Indian ocean and the far East has become almost as important to France as it is to England, and it is hardly fair that one nation should possess all the keys to the gates of the famous waterway to the exclusion of all other nations. France's present occupation of the territory of Obok, on the west side of the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, with the port of Djibouti, is very good as a commercial position, but as a strategic point it can only acquire importance by the addition of Sheik Said on the east side. This incident of Sheik Said furnishes an example of inaccurate map making by men who are apparently more zealous and patriotic than learned and accurate. Whatever may be said of the claims of France to the territory in question, it does not appear that England has ever had the shadow of a claim to it, and Mr Philip ought to know that the use of a brush and some color to make a territory appear to be either English, French, or Turkish, according to one's patriotic ambitions, does not make it so. Geographers ought certainly to stick to official facts and not mislead by marking on their maps unofficial and inaccurate boundaries.* ERNEST DE SASSEVILLE. PARIS, April 12, 1897. GEOGRAPHIC LITERATURE Bulletin of the Department of Labor. No. 9. Edited by Carroll D. Wright, Commissioner; Oren W. Weaver, Chief Clerk. Pp. 109-236. Rand, McNally & Co.'s Road Maps and Cycling Guide to Westchester County, New York. Chicago and New York: Rand, McNally & Co. 50 cents. Magnetic Declinationin the United States. By Henry Gannett. From the Seventeenth Annual Report of the U. S. Geological Survey. Wash ington, 1896. Pp. 203-440, with map and diagrams. Statistical A bstract of the United States. 1896. Nineteenth number. Pre pared by the Bureau of Statistics, under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury. Pp. xII + 400. Washington, 1897. *In the Times Atlas, London, 1896, Sheik Said is distinctly marked as a French possession. J. H.