IV.1 Europe Raw Cotton Imports in 1858, 1864 and 1865

Languages: English | Español | 汉语 | Deutsch

Charles Joseph Minard

Charles Joseph Minard was a French civil engineer and a true pioneer in thematic cartography and statistical graphics. Altogether, he generated over 50 maps looking among others at differential price rates for the transport of goods and people. This is the seventh and final version in a series of maps showing the impact of the American Civil War (1861–1865) on the European cotton trade. The flows of raw cotton prior, during, and after the war are depicted as colored bands. The width of the bands represents the amount of raw cotton imported, with one millimeter representing 5000 barrels. Prior to the U.S. Civil War, most of Europe relied exclusively on the U.S. South as the sole source of this indispensable raw material (blue band). Export blockades during the war changed global trade patterns, instigating a fierce competition between the U.S. (blue band), India and China (orange band), and Egypt (brown band). Minard argued that “a sustained competition among the rival producers would be most useful for England and Europe.” In the mid-to-late 1800s, his influence and contribution to visually based planning was so influential that all Ministers of Public Works in France had their portraits painted with one of Minard’s maps in the background. One of Minard’s most famous maps, Napoleon’s March to Moscow, is shown in the first iteration of this exhibit.


Corbett, John. 1967. “Charles Joseph Minard: Mapping Napoleon’s March, 1861.” Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science. Accessed April 2, 2007. http://www.csiss.org/classics/content/58.

Robinson, Arthur H. 1967. “The Thematic Maps of Charles Joseph Minard.” Imago Mundi: A Review of Early Cartography 21: 95-108.

Finley, Dawn and Virginia Tufte. 2002. “Minard’s Sources.” Edward Tufte: New ET Writings, Artworks & News. Accessed April 2, 2007. http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/minard.

Minard, Charles Joseph. Europe Raw Cotton Imports in 1858, 1864 and 1865. 1866. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Geography and Maps Division. In “4th Iteration (2008): Science Maps for Economic Decision-Makers,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Elisha F. Hardy. http://scimaps.org.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.