This rare and highly attractive wall map of Brazil was commissioned by the Jornal do Brasil, a leading daily newspaper, to commemorate the centenary of the independence of the country (Brazil attained its sovereignty from Portugal in 1822). The map was published in São Paulo by the cartography division of Companiha Litographica Ypiranga, a popular printer of books and ephemera.
The map is beautifully designed, showcasing all of Brazil in it majesty. Each of the republic’s 22 divisions (20 states, 1 territory, and 1 Federal District), are defined in their own bright colours, with their new limits according to the 1921 Brazilian Conference on Interstate Boundaries (as explained in the text, lower-left corner).
The capital of Brazil was then Rio de Janeiro, with the Federal District comprising of only a tiny (1.164 sq. km) portion of Rio’s old town. Moreover, the map depicts the rectangular ‘Futuro Districto Federal’, carved out of Goiás state, in Central Brazil, being the recently designated future site of Brasilia (which would not become the national capital until 1960).
The ‘Convenções’ table, lower-left, identifies symbols used the designate various levels of major cities and towns (including state capitals); the locations of lighthouses; the delineation of overland and submarine telegraph lines and radio telegraph stations; the routes of railway lines (solid red lines – completed; intermittent red – under construction); as well as oceanic and inland shipping routes.
In the lower-right corner of the map is a magnificent cartouche, festooned with national symbols, containing portraits of the rulers of Brazil since 1822: including its two emperors (Dom Pedro I & II) and its eleven presidents (Brazil became a republic in 1889), including the dates of their administration. Below is a fascinating statistical table, detailing the population, land area, population density, capital cities (with their populations) of each Brazilian state; all according to the 1920 census. Brazil then had a population of 30.636 million (against today’s 210 million!).
Additionally, in the lower-left corner, the map is adorned with a view of the Jornal do Brazil’s grand headquarters, in Rio de Janeiro. The newspaper was established in 1891, in the wake of the nation becoming a republic. Under the influence of one of its founders, the famous writer Joaquim Nabuco, the Jornal quickly became one of Brazil’s most popular conservative dailies, being both immensely influential and controversial. By 1922, it had shed it scrappy image, and was a cornerstone of the Brazilian media establishment, a role it still occupies to this very day.
The present special Centennial Edition of the map is third edition of the Mappa do Brasil series issued for the Jornal do Brasil. The first issue was published in 1911 by the firm of Hartmann-Reichenbach. The present third edition is more decorative and vibrant than the first, having been printed by Litographica Ypiranga of São Paulo (founded in 1901), a trendy, rising star of the Brazilian publishing industry.
Due to its ephemeral nature, all editions of the Jornal’s Mappa do Brasil are very rare today. The present 1922 Centennial Edition seems to be especially scarce; we can trace the existence of only a couple of other examples.
References: Revista do Instituto Geografico e Histórico da Bahia, no. 48 (1923), p. 519.