Lonely Planet Writer

See these stunning photos documenting a round-the-world trip 120 years ago

An incredible series of colourised images taken over 120 years ago on a round-the-world trip have resurfaced this week, giving a fascinating insight into what the world looked like before globalisation brought everyone closer together.

Jackson visited over 40 countries taking photographs. Image by William Henry Jackson / mediadrumworld.com

Images from the collection, taken by famous American photographer William Henry Jackson as part of the World’s Transport Commission between 1894 and 1896, show a railway station in India, Japanese men manning a train in Japan and a colourful street scene from 1890s Hong Kong.

Pyramids and Sphinx, 1895 Image by William Henry Jackson / mediadrumworld.com

Further images from the collection capture the members of the World Transport Commission en route to their next destination, a group of men sat on camel-back as they survey the still partially-covered Sphinx, and a group of Korean men dressed in traditional clothing posing on the deck of a ship.

Five Japanese men on railroad locomotive Image by William Henry Jackson / mediadrumworld.com

Jackson was a well-respected painter and photographer throughout the 1870s, 80s and 90s in America, and was commissioned for several exciting jobs as photography as a discipline really began to take off. In 1869, Jackson was commissioned by Union Pacific, an American railway company, to photograph the scenery along their various routes across the country.

Sunset on river; houseboat flying large U.S. flag off the American coast, 1895 Image by William Henry Jackson / mediadrumworld.com

He gained a name for himself photographing the American West, before being asked in 1870 to join the American geological survey of Yellowstone National Park, producing some of the first ever images of the breath-taking scenery on show in the park. Indeed, following his death Mount Jackson in Yellowstone National Park was named in his honour.

Peking – inside view of gateway leading toward the Emperor’s Palace Image by William Henry Jackson / mediadrumworld.com

Eventually Jackson was asked to accompany the World Transport Commission on a trip to document and photograph scenery from around the world. Departing from New York in September 1894, the group visited an astonishing forty plus countries, which included England, Morocco, Algiers and Tunis, Egypt, Arabia, Turkey, Ceylon, India, Siam, Straits Settlements, Dutch East Indies, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, China, Korea, Japan, Russia, Europe, Persia, the colonies of East Africa, the Cape Colony, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Central America, Cuba, the West Indies, and Mexico.

Maori woman with husband and child and 2 dogs in front of home at Hot Springs, 1895

Jackson went on to have a career as first a painter and then a publisher following his hugely successful photography career, but it is this that he is most remembered for. He died in New York at the age of 99.

Words: Tom Dare/mediadrumworld.com