Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Nick Danforth, Georgetown University

Today's map comes from the remakble David Rumsey collection ( which has historical maps from pretty much everywhere digitized and available for online viewing. This map, from an Italian atlas, shows the distribution of goats in Turkey, of the Angora and non-Angora varieties.
In the absence of any profound historical insight, and still embarrassed to have only recently learned that Mohair and Angora wool are the same thing (Cashmere, meanwhile, comes from goats from Kashmir) I'm just going to quote the wikipedia article on Angora Goats: "Angora goats were first introduced in the United States in 1849 by Dr. James P. Davis. Seven adult goats were a gift from Sultan Abdülmecid I in appreciation for his services and advice on the raising of cotton. More goats were imported over time, until the Civil War destroyed most of the large flocks in the south." Also, "The word "mohair" was adopted into English before 1570 from the Arabic: مخير mukhayyar, a type of haircloth, literally 'choice', from khayyara, 'he chose'." Finally, Angora goats appeared on the 50 lira note between 1938-1952. They are believed to have been the first goats to do so.