This chart is especially interesting. It depicts the fine natural harbour of Kismaayo, in the far south of Somalia. As one will notice, it is from a survey made by Captain Wharton of the Britain’s Royal Navy in 1877, which was first published in London by the British Admiralty the following year. The mapping here has been updated to 1924.
However, the present chart has been faithfully duplicated by the Italian Navy for its own use and features the note ‘Per uso esclusivo delle R.R. Navi’ (For the exclusive use of R.R. Ships). As Italy anticipated gaining control of Jubaland (including Kismaayo) from Britain in 1925, Wharton’s chart, which remained the best maritime map of the area, was hastily copied in Genoa by the Real Istituto Idrografico in October 1924 to aid Italian officials in asserting control of the region.
This ‘pirated’ Italian edition of the chart is extremely rare, we can trace only a single example, held by the British Library.
References: British Library: Cartographic Items Maps X.17127.
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