Produced for the European audience, Cary's map of Asia is centred on India - a place of major British investment and interest after the establishment of the English East India Company in 1600. The south-east coast of the Australian mainland remains undefined as do major parts of New Guinea. Another eight years were to pass until the publication of Matthew Flinders' charts (in 1814) produced an accurate map of Australia.
SignificanceCartographer John Cary helped disseminate knowledge of Australasia and the Pacific through the publication of his several atlases. Such atlases provided Europeans with a geographical picture for understanding the modern world of the nineteenth century.
HistoryJohn Cary (1754?-1835) was an 18th century English cartographer. After serving an apprenticeship as an engraver in London, he established his own business in the Strand in 1783. Four years later he published 'The New and Correct English Atlas' which became a standard reference work.
In 1794 Cary was commissioned by the Postmaster General to produce maps of the English road system. This work was published in 1798 as Cary's 'New Itinerary', a map of all the major roads in England and Wales. He also produced Ordnance Survey maps prior to 1805. In his later life he published geologist William Smith's famous map showing the geology of the British Isles for the first time.