Jeppe’s Map of the Transvaal or South African Republic and surrounding territories


CARTOGRAPHER:  Fred. Jeppe, Hon. C.M.R.G.S. etc., of the Surveyor General’s Department and C.F.W. Jeppe, of the Mining Department. and C.F.W. Jeppe.




PUBLICATION: London: Edward Stanford.  Size 6 sheets, each 65 x 63 cm.


DIMENSIONS:  6 sheets, each 65 x 63 cm.   Scale 1 : 476 000


TECHNOLOGY:   Colour lithography.


Lithographer:  Lithographed by Wurster, Randegger & Cie (J. Schlumpf,) Winterthur, Switzerland.




VERSO : Blank


CONDITION:  Excellent condition, six sheets in a slip case.


REFERENCES:  L.F. Braun, South African Historical Journal 53(1) (2005): 146-178; E. Carruthers, Journal of South African Studies 29(4) (2003): 955-975.


VALUE: Jeppe’s wall map of 1899 is very scarce and sought after and the full map consisting of six sheets has come up for auction only once or twice during the last decade.  It is a landmark map in the history of South African cartography



The Transvaal or the South African Republic as it was officially known, had gained its independence from Britain in 1852.  However, by the 1880s the discovery of diamonds in Griqualand West and the world’s richest goldfields on the Witwatersrand had stirred up a new British interest in South Africa. It was in this political climate that a German immigrant, Friedrich Carl Jeppe (1834-1898) who was to be become South Africa’s foremost cartographer of this period, settled in Potchefstroom in the Transvaal in 1861.  In 1867 Jeppe was appointed Postmaster of Potchefstoom, and at the end of that year became Postmaster General of the Transvaal Republic. Jeppe published his first map of the Transvaal in 1868, his second in 1877 and his third in 1889, but it was his monumental wall  map of 1899  which is regarded as his “flagship” and which is a landmark map in the history of southern Africa.


After his retirement as Postmaster of Pretoria and Postmaster General of the South African Republic, Jeppe worked as chief draughtsman and compiler of maps in the Office of the Surveyor General of the Transvaal.  His access to the cadastral information filed in this Office put him in a position to compile his definitive six-sheet topo-cadastral map of 1899 with the help of his son C.F.W. Jeppe. The map indicates all farms together  with their registered names and numbers; was compiled on a scale of 1 : 476 000, finely lithographed on linen by Wurster, Randegger & Cie (J. Schlumpf), Winterthur, Switzerland, and published by Stanford in London by means of colour lithography a year after Fred Jeppe’s death in 1898. Sheet 1 depicts the town plans of Johannesburg and Pretoria, and was sometimes issued as a separate map. Sheet 5 contains the beautiful title with scroll work. Most of the eastern part of the Transvaal is labeled as unexplored country. Although the relief features and drainage pattern were still crudely represented, the depiction of farm boundaries and farm names made the map of inestimable value for military purposes and it played an important role in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.  After publication the map was sent by ship from Britain to the Transvaal where it accidentally fell into British hands in Cape Town in January 1900 where 1 000 copies were confiscated as contraband of war. The British Intelligence Department  considered Jeppe’s map the most reliable source of information on the topography of the Transvaal which they had to their disposal, and they used it successfully when compiling their own map series of the Transvaal at a larger scale from the available farm diagrams in the Office of the Surveyor-General.  The Free State portion of the map was reduced from J.J. Herfst’s …. map of the Orange Free State, whereas Swaziland was compiled from actual surveys and from Alastair Miller’s map of 1896.