History Archive > The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain (1676)

The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain: Presenting an Exact Geography of the Kingdom of England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isles Adjoyning: As Also the Shires, Hundreds, Cities and Shire-Towns Within the Kingdom of England and Principality of Wales; With a Chronology of the Civil-Wars in England, Wales and Ireland. Together With a Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, Viz. Asia, Africa, Europe, America. With These Empires and Kingdoms Therein Contained; Viz. Grecia, Roman-Empire, Germany, Bohemia, France, Belgia, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Denmark, Poland, Persia, Turkish-Empire, Kingdom of China. Tartaria, Summer-Islands


Date: 1676



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Speed, John. The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain. London; : Printed for Thomas Basset at the George in Fleet-street, and Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXVI. [1676]. 1676.


Speed, John (1676) The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain. London; : Printed for Thomas Basset at the George in Fleet-street, and Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXVI. [1676].


Speed, John, The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain. London; : Printed for Thomas Basset at the George in Fleet-street, and Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXVI. [1676]. 1676.


Perhaps the most famous and enduring atlas of Great Britain published in the 17th Century. The first English world atlas folio atlas, two works, comprising five parts, in one volume (425 by 280mm), incorporating 96 double-page engraved maps.

This was the last major updated edition of Speed's atlas. The work was first issued in 1612 as an English county atlas. The additions referred to include distance tables of five of the principal roads from London, in the Theatre, and maps of Virginia, New England, Jamaica, Barbados and Carolina in the Prospect.

In this new edition are added; in the theatre of Great-Britain, the principal roads, and their branches leading to the cities and chief towns in England and Wales; with their computed distances. In a new and accurate method. ... In the prospect of the world. The Empire of the Great Mogul, with the rest of the East-Indies. Palestine, ... Empire of Russia.

Second book: containing the principality of WalesBrief description of the civil wars, and battails fought in England, Wales, and Ireland

Third book: containing a general view of the kingdom of Scotland

Fourth book: containing the kingdom of Ireland

Prospect of the most famous parts of the world

With additional engraved title page (plate) signed: R: White sculp. The title page includes allegorical figures showing a Roman, a Britain, a Saxon, a Dane and a Norman - each representing the conquerors of Great Britain, each in their traditional costume. The pillars, pedestals and columns are intricately decorated with cupids' heads, grotesques, herms, putti, coins, crests and other figures.

The dominate figure above the title is an indigenous Briton, taken from an engraving that was first published by Theodor de Bry in 1590. Fine vignettes of the City of London, and a ship are on the foundation. According to Shirley, this sheet may have been engraved by Renold Elstack, due to the stylistic similarities to other works he engraved for Speed. George Humble's imprint is at the bottom. Engraved by R. White, for Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell.

The magnificent coat of arms of James I dominate the heraldic frontispiece - "The Achievement Of Our Soveraigne King James As He Nowe Beareth With The Armes Of The Severall Kings That Have Aunciently Raigned Within His Nowe Dominions". Around this central panel are 24 smaller shields of parts of the realm from ancient times, including shields denoting the Romans, Saxons and Normans, amongst others. The page is signed by Jodocus Hondius, the engraver, and is dated 1614.

Maps ornamented with the arms of the country and of the nobility, and have border illustrations of figures in national costumes and of views of cities. Many maps have, also, plans of cities, views of castles, cathedrals and other interesting features.

[16], 94, [47 maps], [2], 97-126, [14 maps], 5-6, [1 map], 5-8, [2], 129-132, [1 map], [2], 135-146, [5 maps], [2], 56, [28 maps], [12] p., [7] leaves of plates : ill., coats of arms, tables ; 43 cm (fol.)

Bound in burgundy cloth covered boards. All maps are hand-colored.


English short title catalogue, R13825

Chubb, T. Printed maps in the atlases of Great Britain and Ireland, p. 37-40

Wing, D.G. Short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English books printed in other countries, 1641-1700 (CD-ROM. 1996), entry S4886

List of Images

0. Book Display

1. Title Page

2. Illustrated Title Page

3. Frontispiece

4. Holy Iland, Garnsey, Farne and Iarsey

5. Britain

6. The Kingdome of England

7. Kent

8. Sussex

9. Surrey

10. Hantshire

11. Wight Island

12. Dorsetshyre

13. Devonshire

14. Cornwall

15. Somersetshire

16. Wilshire

17. Barkshire

18. Midlesex

19. Essex

20. Suffolke

21. Norfolk

22. Cambridgshire

23. Hartfordshire

24. Bedfordshire

25. Buckingham

26. Oxfordshire

27. Glocestershire

28. Herefordshire

29. Worcestershire

30. The Counti of Warwick

31. Norhamtonshire

32. Huntington

33. Rutlandshire

34. Leicester

35. The Counti and City of Lyn

36. The Counti of Nottingham

37. Darbieshire

38. Stafford Countie and Towne

39. Shropshyre

40. The Countye Palatine of Chester

41. The Countie Pallatine of Lancaster

42. Yorkshire

43. The West Ridinge of Yorkeshyre

44. The North and East Ridins of Yorkshire

45. The Bishophrick and Citie of Durham

46. The Countie Westmorland

47. Cumberland

48. Northumberland

49. The Isle of Man

50. Holy Iland, Garnsey, Farne and Iarsey [Copy II]

51. The Second Book - Wales

52. Wales

53. Penbrokshyre

54. Caermarden

55. Glamorganshyre

56. The Countye of Monmouth

57. Breknoke

58. The Countie of Radnor

59. Cardiganshyre

60. Montgomeryshire

61. Merionethshire

62. Denbighshore

63. Flintshire

64. Caernarvon

65. Anglesey

66. The Invasions of England and Ireland

67. The North Road from London to Birwick

68. The North-West Road from London to Hollyhead

69. The West Road from London to Bristol

70. The Western Road from London to the Lands-End in Cornwal

71. the South-East, South and South-West Roads from London

72. The Third Book - Scotland

73. The Kingdome of Scotland

74. The Fourth Book - Ireland

75. The Kingdome of Irland

76. The Province of Mounster

77. The Countie of Leinster

78. The Province of Connaugh

79. The Province of Ulster

80. A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World

81. A New and Accvrat Map of the World

82. Asia

83. Africae

84. Europe [Europe]

85. America

86. Greece

87. A Newe Mape of the Romane Empire

88. A Newe Mape of Germany

89. Bohemia

90. France

91. A Newe Mape of Y XVII Provinces of Low Germanie

92. Spain

93. Italia

94. A Newe Mape of Hungari

95. The Kingdome of Denmarke

96. A Newe Mape of Poland

97. The Kingdome of Persia

98. The Turkisch Empire

99. The Kingdome of China

100. A Newe Mape of Tartary

101. A Map of the Sommer Ilands

102. A Map of Virginia and Maryland

103. A Map of New England and New York

104. A Map of Jamaica and Barbados

105. A New Description of Carolina

106. A New Map of East India

107. A Map of Russia

108. Canaan

Publication Information

Publisher: London; : Printed for Thomas Basset at the George in Fleet-street, and Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXVI. [1676]





ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-07-30

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