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Dictionary Project, Volume X: The German Empire

The Dictionary Project is a post-a-day exploration of The Century Dictionary and Cylopedia, a twelve-volume set printed in New York in 1901. The Project runs from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015, and matches volume numbers to calendar months. Volume X is The Atlas, and today is Day 14.

You thought two double-page spreads for England was impressive? Hold your hats for three double-page spreads for the German Empire! Because, Empire. It’s big! It’s oddly-shaped! It needs lots of pages.

Map of the German Empire, Northern Part, 1897Map of the German Empire, Southwestern Part, 1897Map of the German Empire, Eastern Part

The German Empire covered a lot of ground in 1897. From Schleswig (much of which is now part of Denmark) and Holstein in the north, to Bavaria and Alsace-Lorraine (some of which is now in France) in the south, from more or less the same place (except for that bit of the Netherlands mentioned yesterday) in the west, to parts of what are now Poland and Lithuania in the east. Possibly also bits of what is now Slovakia, too? I can’t quite tell, because I can’t pair up the place names between the vintage maps and Google Maps of the same area.

So many of these names take me back to History class in high school. Schleswig-Holstein, Alsace-Lorraine, the battles thereof. Makes me think of Mr. Brown, who never made any of this stuff jump off the page for me, but was a nice enough guy for all that.

The more of these maps I look at, and the more names I see that ring vague, distant bells, the more I wish I’d paid more attention to Mr. Brown and his fellows. I do know, though, that the German Empire went through a lot of changes over the next hundred or so years.

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