Greenough’s large-scale geological map of India (1854) represents a significant landmark in the history of geological cartography in India, it being the first geological map of the entire Indian sub-continent. This paper attempts to provide an account of the production, distribution, variants and survivorship of this pioneering map. The geological information contained on the map is based almost entirely on published data sources, Greenough never having visited India, yet the map is far more than a mere compilation. Its construction required the preparation of a topographic base map, geological interpolation over large swathes of unmapped territory, the organizing of mainly lithological descriptions into a unified chronostratigraphic order, and the integration of palaeontological information. By modern standards the delineation of strata on the map is imprecise, stratigraphic resolution is poor, and structural data are entirely lacking, yet it remained unrivalled as the only available geological map of all-India until the Geological Survey of India produced a smaller-scale map some twenty-four years later. In terms of areal coverage and paucity of reliable information, Greenough’s India map represents a far more ambitious and pioneering undertaking than his more famous geological map of England and Wales.

202 copies of the map were produced, sixty of which were purchased by the East India Company, while a further forty or so were gifted by Greenough to various public institutions and distinguished geologists. Edward Stanford acquired publishing rights to the map in 1855 and continued to offer copies for sale until at least 1898. A recent survey has identified three variant states of the map and has confidently located thirty-four surviving copies.

For reasons outlined here, Greenough’s India map has languished in obscurity since its publication. It deserves to be better known.

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