Rhodesian Maps 1890 – c 1945
(click on maps for a closer look)
The maps above from 1895 and 1900, at a scale of 1:1,000,000, show the Eastern District when it was first being opened up.
That from 1895 is probably the first ever large scale map of the area and the “road” made by Thomas Moodie is shown as a single line crossing the Sabi at Moodie’s Drift and the Tanganda at New Year’s Drift before eventually reaching Melsetter Settlement. At this stage most of the boundary with Portuguese East Africa had not yet finally been agreed.
The second map of the same area and scale shows some changes as at 1900. Notably the building of a road and telegraph line from Umtali to Melsetter village and from there a road to what must then have been an extremely remote BSAP post near where the Mt Selinda Mission was later established.
In 1898 a border agreement with Moçambique had been signed with Portugal at Macequece more or less along present lines. Sadly for Rhodesia in many places the line was to the west of what had been hoped for. The final, present day, boundary was not finally agreed until late 1940.
The other points of interest on both maps are the descriptions which actually well convey the nature of the land concerned. That for the area around the Tanganda River between Middle Drift and New Year’s Drift being marked: “Fine Country well watered”.
Eastern Highlands of Rhodesia 1929 mapping at 1 : 250 000 scale
The above mapping was first published in 1929 with the northern third of the map partially revised for major changes in 1944 and the remaining southern section similarly revised in 1947. Thus the Birchenough Bridge, at the bottom of the map is shown; having been opened just before Christmas 1935. At this stage, although hill features are shown, there were no contours marked.