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Date: 1876
Overall: 38.3 x 47.3 mm, 0.03 kg
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Maps, charts and plans
Object Name: Map
Object No: 00017945

User Terms

    This German map depicts the shipping routes across the Southern Ocean and the routes of early Antarctic explorers. At the map's centre is the landmass and ice sheets of Antarctica. The southernmost tips of South America, Australia and Africa are also shown.
    SignificanceThis detailed map is representative of global maritime trade and commerce during the mid-19th century. It highlights Australia's central position on clipper ship trade routes.
    HistoryThe era of the clipper ships was dominated by a sense of romance, competition, national pride and innovative technology. These sleek and graceful ships were a symbol of American modernity and fundamental to the expanding global economy. Their design concentrated on speed instead of cargo capacity and was a great benefit to shipping companies eager to transport goods quickly.

    During the mid-19th century the clipper ship route was the fastest possible circumnavigation of the world. The passage could be very dangerous as ships had to negotiate severe weather conditions, mountainous seas and icebergs to reach their destination. The route travelled between Europe, America, the Far East and Australia. The ships crossed the length of the Southern Ocean to take advantage of the strong winds of the 'Roaring Forties'. Cape Horn at the tip of South America was a major milestone and turning point for those ships heading back to America's East coast or Europe. The importance of this trade route declined as steamships developed and overtook clipper ships. The opening of the Suez Canal and Panama Canal also allowed quicker passages for steamships travelling across the globe. By the 1870s the usefulness of clipper ship had fallen as steamships began to dominate the passenger and freight trade.

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