The Statesman's Yearbook
is a one-volume reference book providing information on the countries of the world. It is currently published by Palgrave Macmillan
The first edition
In the middle of the nineteenth century, Prime Minister Robert Peel
suggested to Alexander Macmillan (of the family publishing house
) the publication of “a handbook presenting in a compact shape a picture of the actual conditions, political and social of the various states in the civilised world”.
Some years later, the renowned historian Thomas Carlyle
and his friend William Gladstone, introduced Carlyle’s assistant Frederick Martin to Macmillan. German-born Martin, Macmillan realised, was just the man to produce such a handbook.
So it was that an agreement was signed in December 1862 for ‘A Statistical, Genealogical, and Historical Account of the States and Sovereigns of the Civilised World’. Thirteen months later the first Statesman’s Yearbook
went on sale. It cost 8 shillings and 4 pence.
Queen Victoria was on the throne and Civil War was raging in America when this first Statesman’s Yearbook
appeared in January 1864.
In the preface to this first edition, Martin declared: “The great aim has been to insure an absolute correctness of the multiplicity of fact and figures in The Statesman’s Yearbook
Frederick Martin presided over the book for twenty years, during which time it became established as a leading reference work.
His successor, well-known Scottish journalist John......