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A world geography
Title : A world geography A world geography
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Source : A new moral system of geography : containing an account of the different nations ancient and modern ...
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : Printed for G. Riley ... and sold by S. Hazard Bath Mess. Watson and Elder Edinburgh
Date of creation : 1790
Format : Book
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

The full title of this book provides an idea of the extent of the contents: A new moral system of geography: containing an account of the different nations ancient and modern their situation and climate, their rise and fall, their customs and manners: including, a description of each country, and their respective productions, by which commerce has been established, and society cemented for the good of mankind: adorned with the dresses of each country.

In addition to covering the countries of the world by continents there are preliminary chapters that discuss the solar system, the zodiac and general geographical terms. There is also a dictionary of 'universal geography' which provides brief information about many of the countries.

The frontispiece shows a woman clothed in classical robes with a lion crouched at her feet, and a globe of the world beside her; she is examining a scroll with diagrams of the Earth. Each chapter contains an illustration of an inhabitant of the country being discussed. These serve to break up the solid blocks of text.

Seven pages are devoted to Botany Bay, settled two years prior to the publication of the book. Much of the content refers to the indigenous people, but there are also paragraphs about the climate, soil and animals. The description of its 'situation' is misleading:
This island lies in 33 degrees south latitude, near a large tract of land called New-Holland, which extends from the Prince of Wales' island, in 16 degrees to Dieman's land in 41 degrees. (p. 195)
To the reader this sounds as if Botany Bay was on an offshore island. Botany Bay was selected as the site of the first settlement in Australia, or, as it was called at that time, New South Wales, rather than New Holland - which was the western half of the Australian continent. The site was moved to Sydney Cove which proved a much more suitable location. However, Botany Bay persisted for a number of years as the name of the first Australian colony.
Period : Pre-1836
Further reading :

International companion encyclopedia of children's literature edited by Peter Hunt London: Routledge, 2004

Muir, Percy H. English children's books, 1600 to 1900 London: Batsford, [1954]

Whalley, Joyce Irene Cobwebs to catch flies: illustrated books for the nursery and schoolroom, 1700-1900 London: Elek, 1974

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