THE first-known attempt at a record of the revenue, popula- The
tion, produce, or similar statistics of any considerable portion earliest
of India was made, during the latter half of the sixteenth and maps.
century, by Akbar, and the inquiries he then set on foot may
be said to constitute the earliest step towards the formulation
of geographical knowledge in India. He divided his territories
into twelve sibahs or provinces, which practically included the
whole of India north of a line drawn from Calcutta to Bombay,
with the addition of Kabul, while later conquests added three
more subahs in the Deccan. The boundaries and extent of
these provinces were laid down with as much accuracy as was
consistent with the vague standards of measurement then avail-
able. Akbar, while giving fairly concise descriptions of the
boundaries of his subahs, did not embody them in the form of
a map, but caused them to be recorded in writing, together with
full statistical details of their resources, and these particulars
may be found in the Ain-i-Akbari. To the sea captains of
the East India Company, those 'noted seamen of Wapping,'
are due the earliest plotted and recorded surveys of India.
Their work naturally took the form of coastwise charts, or
'plotts,' as they termed them, around their chief ports of
call, such as Surat and others on the Malabar coast, and the
earliest examples thereof date from the first decade of the
seventeenth century. Unfortunately most of the log-books of
voyages prior to I855 were either burnt in Calcutta about that
year, or were similarly destroyed in i860 at the India Office,
so little light can now be thrown on the work of the gallant
seamen of those early days, though the Hakluyt Society has
preserved certain portions from oblivion1.
The earliest attempt at a modern and accurate map of India
was that of the French geographer D'Anville, who, in 175I-2,
compressed into that form all the available knowledge of the
time, whether derived from the routes of travellers or from
' Marine surveys are treated in an Appendix to this chapter.
VOL. IV. I i