The architecture of the Russian Empire’s control of Ukraine.

[Map of European Russia] Карта Европейской Россiи

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SKU: NL-01250 Category:
Date: ca. 1880
Place: St. Petersburg
Dimensions: 82.5 x 98 cm (32.5 x 38.5 in)
Condition Rating: VG+
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This is an extremely rare ca. 1880 map of the European portion of the Russian Empire. Inset maps are included at top-left, showing St. Petersburg and Odesa, on the left above the legend, showing Moscow and Warsaw, and at bottom to the right of the legend, Riga, Helsingfors (Helsinki), and Kyiv. The legend includes information on administrative borders, geographic features, and infrastructure, including railways, which were being built at a rapid pace in this period.

The map includes hand-drawn annotations marking out governorates (gubernia, губе́рния) in Ukraine that correspond to numbers and notes in the legend. The governorates numbered are: I – Kherson; II – Podolia (Podillia); III – Volhynia (Volyn); IV – Kiev (Kyiv); V – Chernigov (Chernihiv); VI – Orel; VII – Voronezh; VIII – Kursk; IX – Poltava; X – Kharkov (Kharkiv); and XI – Yekaterinoslav (Dnipro). It is worth mentioning that these handwritten notes are in German; many of the administrators of the Russian Empire were ethnically German, particularly Baltic Germans.

Kiev and Azov had been among the original eight governorates established by Peter the Great in the early 18th century. Thanks to the expansionist policies of Catherine the Great, by the early 19th century Russian colonization of Ukraine had progressed to the point that the additional governorates listed above had been added. The Russian Empire used a variety of drastic methods to maintain control and prevent separatist movements in Ukraine, including forced population transfers, strict limitations on expressions of Ukrainian language and identity, and Russification policies, all of which the Soviet Union would also employ at various stages for the same purpose. After 1917, the governorates shown here became the basis for the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Holes have been punched and grommets inserted for hanging at the top-left and top-right corners, making it likely that this map was hung in a government office, conceivably in the Ukrainian region of the empire itself.



This map is very rare and perhaps unique; there are no other known examples in institutional holdings or on the market. It may be a modified edition of the also very rare “Tabletop General Map of European Russia” (Настольная генеральная карта европейской России) (OCLC 614113540).


Cartographic Establishment of Alexey Ilyin

The Cartographic Establishment of A. Ilyin was founded in 1859 by General Staff officers Alexey Ilyin (1832-1889) and Vladimir Poltoratsky (1830-1886). The firm was originally known as the Chromolithography of Poltoratsky, Ilyin and Co., but after Poltoratsky’s departure in 1864, its name was changed to solely reflect Ilyin’s stewardship.

Ilyin had served as cartographer for the Military Topographic Depot of the General Staff and was eventually promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General. He thus had privileged access to government map archives, granting him a great competitive edge over his rivals.

After the death of Alexey Afinogenovich, one of his sons, Alexey Alexeevich Ilyin (1857-1942) assumed control over the firm. By 1882, the enterprise reached its zenith, producing up to 6 million impressions, accounting for around 90% of all civilian cartographic products published in Russia. The company prospered until it was nationalized following the Communist Revolution of 1917.

Condition Description

Segmented and laid on original linen. Minor blemishes.