Map of Central America, Shewing the Different Lines of Atlantic & Pacific Communication

Before the Canal: mapping overland routes in Central America.

Cartographer(s): James Wyld
Date: 1850
Place: London
Technique: Lithograph
Coloring: Old color
Dimensions: 81 x 59 cm (31.9 x 23.2 in)
Condition Rating: VG+

Out of stock

SKU: NL-00658 Category: Tag:


This handsome map of Central America illustrates the various proposed routes for a land transit that would cut weeks off a journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The map shows four possible routes: “Across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec;” “From Port Sn. Juan del Norte to Port Realejo;” “From the Lake Nicaragua to Port San Juna del Sur;” and “Between Charges (Atlantic) and Vaca de Monte (Pacific).”

A large and very colorful inset shows the geological formations on the Isthmus of Panama and the planned route in great detail. With the discovery of gold in California, this chart gained particular prominence and was copied in a U.S. government report (Ex. Doc. No. 75 1st Sess. 31st Cong.). This example comes from that report, published in 1852.


James Wyld

James Wyld (1812–1887) was a British geographer and map-seller.

The eldest son of James Wyld the Elder, Wyld became the sole owner of the thriving family mapmaking business based in Charing Cross on his father’s death in 1836. His maps, which covered regions as diverse as London and the gold fields of California, were regarded highly, and Wyld himself had an excellent reputation as a mapmaker; he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1839, and he was appointed Geographer to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (as had been his father before him).

Condition Description

Issued folding with minor toning and offsetting along the folds and a couple tiny splits at fold intersections.


Kapp (MCC-73) #114; Kapp (MCC-106) #191.