National Geographic : 1897 Jul
THE VENEZUELAN BOUNDARY COMMISSION 197 when arbitration was agreed upon, but the commission decided to stop short and print in as complete and systematic form as time permitted the facts then gathered. The facts gathered by the commission are set forth in three octavo volumes and an atlas comprising 76 maps. The atlas constitutes volume 4 of the report and was the first volume com pleted. It is composed, as above stated, of 76 maps, divided into three groups or parts. Part I comprises 15 maps, all printed on the same base. This base map was specially compiled and engraved for the commis sion, and is designed to represent the latest and best information as to the natural features of the Orinoco-Essequibo region. It is based chiefly on the so-called great map of the colony, dated 1875, and published by E. Stanford, of London, in 1877. Various other maps were also nade use of in its compilation. The dis puted territory along the seacoast is so differently shown on maps of high authority that a compromise seemed impossible, and accordingly two different maps of the same tract are shown side by side on the base map. Map 1 shows various boundary lines proposed or claimed, map 2 the forests and savannas, map 3 the principal drainage basins, and map 4 the geology of the region as far as known. Maps 5 to 14 are historical maps, showing European occupation at various dates from the earliest down to 1814. " These eleven historical maps," says Professor Burr, "have been prepared to illustrate my report on the evidence of Dutch official documents as to occupation and claims in the re gion between the Essequibo and the Orinoco, and are an attempt to show graphically the conclusions reached by that report." It may be noted in passing that if title to the disputed tract is to be determined by occupation, these maps showing occupation are of great significance and importance. Part II of the atlas comprises 41 maps, facsimile reproductions of the " mother maps " of the region-produced during a period of about 300 years. Volume 3 of the commission's report con tains a paper by the secretary, Mr Severo Mallet-Prevost, on the Cartographical Testimony of Geographers. The 41 maps mentioned illustrate that report and exhibit the gradual evolu tion of our geographical knowledge of the disputed area, and also the evolution of the various boundary lines. It constitutes an interesting and instructive group of maps and makes avail able for students a number of scarce ones.