National Geographic : 1951 Dec
Our Narrowing World The Story of the New National Geographic Map TO MEET the need for an up-to-date picture of global geography, the Na tional Geographic Society presents with this issue of its Magazine the best map of the world it has yet produced. It reflects new geographic knowledge obtained by ex plorers, airborne cameras, and patient ocean ographers since previous maps were made. The map's 5,488 place names conform to latest official spellings. Scores of them are new: Israel, Jordan, Indonesia, and Pakistan, for example; Formosa for Taiwan, Djakarta for Batavia, Krung Thep for Bangkok; and Levant States are now Syria and Lebanon. By looking at a clock and the World Map inset showing time zones, one can tell in a moment what time it is anywhere in the world. After painstaking preparation of the mas ter map by National Geographic cartograph ers, more than 2,100,000 copies in ten colors have whirled from a battery of big lithographic presses for distribution to members in 160 countries, to schools, libraries, and govern ment agencies.* World View Vital for Survival On the World Map the United States looks small-less than six inches wide compared to 39 inches for the earth as a whole. Yet, measured by the time it takes to travel around it, the whole "wide world" today is less wide than was the North American Continent a short lifetime ago. At the beginning of this century of ever increasing speed, it took at least four and a half days to cross the United States from New York to San Francisco by the fastest possible means, the railroad train. Now a United States Air Force B-50 bomber, refueled four times in the air, has circled the world nonstop in 3 days, 22 hours, and one minute. Any man or woman with the necessary fare, passports, and taste for haste can make the circuit by scheduled air liners in a week or less (page 705). Jets, rockets, and atomic power promise-or threaten-to shrink the world still more. Ignorance of the geography of nations was perhaps excusable a generation ago, but to day knowing and understanding the many diverse countries of the world has become urgent and vital for our national survival. What happens in Moscow or Peiping today, or in Korea or divided Berlin, can affect the lives and fortunes of Americans more quickly than the firing on Fort Sumter in South Caro lina did 90 years ago. Formosa, Yugoslavia, Iran-datelines from such distant places turn up in a single day's grist of important news. Only a world map will show where they are in relation to the United States and its friends in far parts of the earth. The National Geographic Society map gives the background of the global struggle between Soviet Communist expansionism and members of the United Nations carrying out their charter obligation to prevent aggression. For world travel in fancy or fact, or for inter national business planning, the map will be equally useful. One-piece Panorama of the Earth Beginning in 1905, The Society has issued nine world maps. On these, and on the many National Geographic maps of the continents, the geographer and historian can note the changes in boundaries, the changes in sover eignty, and the growth and disappearance of states during the past half century. The world maps have been among the most popular ever issued. Like three of its prede cessors, this one shows the earth in a pano rama uninterrupted except by the borders of the map. In 1943, when The Society last published a world map, it was divided along the merid ian 80 degrees east of Greenwich to keep the Pacific theater of war intact, for at that time Japanese naval forces were active in the Bay of Bengal. Today, with Japan removed as a threat and United Nations forces alert to maintain peace in the Pacific, Chief Cartographer James M. Darley divided this National Geo graphic map along the 90-degree meridian east of Greenwich to keep the Indian penin sula intact. Ancient Greeks, Alexandrians, and Romans centered their maps on the Mediterranean, around which, as Plato quoted Socrates, they lived "like ants or frogs about a marsh." Early Christian cartographers made Jerusa lem the center of their maps. Today's World Map is centered on the Americas, source of so much of the leadership and aid, so many of the men, machines, and raw materials needed for the preservation of freedom in older lands. Abreast of current history, this December, 1951, World Map carries an inset showing * Members may obtain additional copies of the new World Map (and of all standard maps published by The Society) by writing to the National Geographic Society, Washington 6, D. C . Prices in United States and Possessions, 50 4 each on paper; $1 on linen; Index, 25'. Elsewhere, 75 on paper; $1.25 on linen; Index, 50c. All remittances payable in U. S. funds. Postpaid.