(Basis of my story - pair of characters in England around 1870, and how they and their descendants keep running into each other and also solving the murders of Jack the Ripper. Involves a lot of hanging around seamy locations in Australia over the next 100 years.) The map is to work out some of the travels of a fortune-hunter who "has" to leave England, and I really want to use this map.
From using the names of the countries, such as "South African Republic" (ended 1910), "British Central Africa" (ended 1907) and "French Kongo" (to 1906), I'm pretty sure this map was pre-1910. In addition a) Russia is "The Russian Empire" and there is no sign of Poland (thus 1864-1917), b) Germany is the "German Empire" (thus 1871 - 1918) and Ireland is a single country (pre-1921). And c) and most importantly, Australia is showing as one country, making it post-1901. All African colony names that we could read as follows:
British East Africa
British Central Africa
South African Republic
German East Africa
Italian North-East Africa (this one is throwing me, as it supposely finished in 1895)
Kongo Free State
Portuguese West Africa
German South West Africa
State of East Africa
But the fact which is throwing a spanner in the works is that there seems to be a trade route going through Panama. The canal didn't open until 1914, whereas some of those African colonial names tell me this must be prior to this. Yet other maps I've found (such as 1910 and 1911) show trade routes obviously going *through* Panama.
So - are they showing what was expected at any moment, viz: the opening of the canal? Are they showing a trade route that used the Panama Railway (open from 1855) although they're not showing a railway symbol? Was it usual to show the train trade routes? And is my analysis of the map being 1901-1906 approximately correct?
Searches used: "World map 189x" "World Map 190x" "World Map 191x" (with a search for all variables on x), "Trade Route ditto", history checks on all the countries listed to check existence dates (and variations such as "history of Abysinnia"), "Panama railway", "historical maps of the world",