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Friday, October 13, 2017

Historical Cartography Prior to the United Nations

Hello!

My sixth historical novel, Meridian, launches around the world on Tuesday, October 17th. Its name is derived from the Prime Meridian. In 1884, the nations of the world united to decide upon a single Prime Meridian.

Today, it's something that we take for granted. The Prime Meridian runs through Greenwich, England and is the origin of zero from which longitude is counted on maps. Before there was a single meridian, though, different maps used different points as zero.

At times, this caused confusion and even shipping accidents. One of the characters in Meridian is a tea merchant. English by birth, he and his wife have moved to China to plant tea. He then commands the ships for his business dealings. The opening of Meridian sees him at sea, desperately lost, because of confusion surrounding a map. He is thus one of the characters immensely interested in the idea of a single meridian.

The International Meridian Conference was particularly interesting because it was a forerunner to the United Nations and it saw the United States become a global leader, since it was held in Washington D.C. Another component of the conference dealt with the unity of time zones. Already the United States and Canada had unified their time zones for the railroads. Now the conference extended that unification.

Prior to the advent of the telegraph, trains, and steamships, the individual times set by nations and even towns were not as important or noticeable. The distances between places were too far to really matter. As the world grew ever closer, though, there was a greater need, for convenience and safety, for unification in times and cartography.

This true conference provides the backdrop for Meridian. Whenever new growth is seen, there are some who hold it in contention. That division often runs deep and it courses through Meridian.

Pre-order your copy of Meridian as an ebook today.
It will also be available via hardcover and paperback.

My best to you all,
Megan

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