The Statesman's Yearbook

The Statesman's Yearbook is a one-volume reference book providing information on the countries of the world. It is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

The first edition

In the middle of the nineteenth century, Robert Peel suggested to Alexander Macmillan of the 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, Thomas Carlyle and William Gladstone, introduced Carlyle’s assistant Frederick Martin to Macmillan. 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, price 8 shillings and 4 pence. 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."


Railway map of Africa, including tracks proposed and under construction, The Statesman's Yearbook, 1899.

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 Scott Keltie, took over in 1883. A talented author, editor and scholar and a passionate geographer, he introduced the insertion of thumbnail maps of each country and large political world maps.

After Scott-Keltie’s death, his sometime co-editor Mortimer Epstein took over and edited the work for over twenty years including, remarkably, during World War II when the book continued to be published yearly, despite the rationing of paper.

Epstein died in 1946, and his successor Henry Steinberg was faced with the challenge of producing a new Statesman’s Yearbook for an ever-changing world, as new countries came into being and others ceased to exist. His passion for the task, sharp mind and amiable nature meant that The Statesman’s Yearbook swiftly adapted to the new world order.

Steinberg continued as Editor until 1969 when his assistant, John Paxton, took over. Brian Hunter edited between 1990 and 1997 and Barry Turner took over in 1997.

List of editors

Current edition

The 149th edition of The Statesman's Yearbook was published in September 2012.[1] The Statesman’s Yearbook is also online and in September 2009 the complete archive from 1864 to 2009 was added to the website.


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See also

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