The first plate in this 1925 atlas shows three sub-maps: Distribution of Protestant mission stations throughout the world, Prevailing Races and Prevailing Religions. The map Distribution of Protestant mission stations throughout the world shows very clearly with red dots where the focal points of the Protestant mission have been.
For example, many missions are located in India, China and Japan, but also various colonial areas in Sub-Saharan Africa show a wide variety of missionaries. Given the occurrence of Christian persecution in many Muslim areas, missions are underrepresented in those areas marked green under the Prevailing Religions submap.
The ‘Prevailing Races’ submap shows the world in a subdivision of people into the ‘white type’, ‘yellow type’ and ‘black type’. Interestingly, the areas where the transatlantic slave trade put many people of African descent to work - in the Caribbean, parts of South America and the southwestern part of the United States - are the only areas on this map that are shaded. As a result, these are the only places on the map where it is recognized that a mixing of ‘types’ of people occurs. This is in contrast to the homogeneous coding into which the rest of the world, including other colonial areas, is divided.
The collecting of data on culture, geography or socio-economic aspects of local populations has played a major role in mission. As a result of the process of globalization, more and more knowledge was bundled and missionary cartography thus acquired a more statistical character. The generalization of cultural characteristics and the division of the world into heterogeneous blocks was often the result. These mission maps of the geographical distributions of missions, ethnicity, and religion actually show the history of colonial expansion, Western influence, and exploitation in a nutshell. The increasing connectivity and the exploitative, economic progressive thinking of this Western expansion is visible, for example, in the types of inset maps on the 29th plate from this atlas, ‘World - languages of commerce, means of traffic & c.’.
The maps in the World Missionary Atlas were created by the family business John Bartholomew & Son Ltd., a renowned map publisher in Edinburgh, Scotland (see also the map of western Africa).