The events that occurred in the last month of La Commune, – the socialist government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871 – are mapped out in this extraordinary plan, drawn up by Mr. L. Meunier and P. Rouillier in 1871 in a simple yet informative manner.
“Paris en Mai 1871. Plan indiquant les opérations de l’Armée contre l’Insurrection. Dressée par L. Meunier et P. Rouillier. Échelle de 1 : 32,000”
Cartography is used here as a narrative device aimed to display the military actions of the Versailles army, their strategy, countermeasures taken by the insurgents and the rapidly unfolding events taking place in space and time across the urban territory.
For more informations about the events of La Commune and some related texts, we leave you with: “La Commune Project by Raspouteam” (2011), an entire site (though only in French) dedicated to the events during the insurrection, Le Funambulist’s “Paris 1871 Commune recounted by Raspouteam” and “Processes of smoothing and striation of space in urban warfare“.
We thank our friend Mike Ma for letting us use his photographic reproductions of the plan.
(Legend: In blue: Versailles army lines, In red: elements of the insurgents or destroyed buildings)
Update 2014-01-30: thanks to Ross Wolfe over at The Charnel House for editing our post and for appending the Friedrich Engels’ 1891 reflection on the Paris Commune to these maps.
Click the following image for a hi-def of the whole plan:
The plan also includes an hystorical summary of military events from March, 18th to Mai, 29th:
Here’s another map displaying the siege around the city: