The Hunter Map of Arabia

[Red Sea - Hunter, Frederick Fraser]. Arabia and the Persian Gulf. N.W. Section, S.W. Section. [Map of Arabia and the Persian Gulf with additions and corrections to 1916].

Dehra Dun, Survey of India Offices, published under the direction of Colonel Sir S. G. Burrard, Surveyor General of India, 1916.

Large folding heliozincographed colour map, 2 (of 4) sheets, each measuring 940 x 700 mm (lacking the eastern sections). Both sections with original printed covers.


Two sections of Hunter's large and extremely detailed map of the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf, showing the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia with the 'Asir, Hejaz and Nejd regions, as well as most of Yemen, with Kuwait and Southern Iraq. The two eastern sections, which covered Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and part of eastern Saudi Arabia, are not present.

The Canadian-born Hunter later became a major figure in British India's Intelligence Service. He initially compiled the map between 1905 and 1908, to accompany J. G. Lorimer's "Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf". As the author recalls in his 1919 "Reminiscences", "a great deal of the information on the map was from sources considered secret at the time" (p. 357). Special surveys of the country's interior areas were carried out to achieve a hitherto unprecedented degree of accuracy: "The map was a distinct advance on anything which existed, as in 1908 no general map of Arabia on such a large scale existed" (p. 360). The "Hunter" map was used (and praised) by St John Philby during his journey across Arabia.

Such was the detail of Hunter's map that the Survey of India reissued it, with corrections, several times during the First World War and interwar period. As the maps were issued in parts and used on active service it is not unusual for sections to be missing. Many of the surviving copies show signs of official use; this issue bears a flight route, sketched out in red ink, along the southern Gulf coast to Baghdad.

Some light browning, several small tears to folds, otherwise very good.

Scarce. OCLC locates complete copies at the Library of Congress, University of Wisconsin, National Library of Israel and the BNF.


Cf. Macro 1228.