The Progress of the Spasmodic Cholera, 1832


Chart Shewing the Progress of the Spasmodic Cholera


This map uses lines to show cholera’s spread around the world in 1832. These lines closely follow trade routes of the time and therefore contradicted prevailing miasmatic ideas about how cholera spread.

A miasma is polluted air. It was thought that air filled with particles from decomposed matter carried a poison that could cause disease. The miasmatic theory of the transmission of cholera persisted until well after Robert Koch’s publication in 1884 of his discovery that cholera is caused by bacteria.

The USA is drawn to a different scale.


Public license

The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. This photograph of the work is also in the public domain in the United States (see Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.).


The image was scanned from Fig 3.10a in Tom Koch (2005). Cartographies of Disease. ESRI Press, Redlands, California.

The original map was published in Brigham, A. 1832. A treatise on epidemic cholera. Hartford: H. and F.J. Huntington