The Statesman’s Yearbook Online

edited by Dr Barry Turner

The Statesman's Yearbook Archives

Explore this historical resource today

The Statesman’s Yearbook 1967

Now in its 154th edition, it will surprise many to know that there have only been seven editors. It is perhaps more surprising to learn that throughout its history, The Statesman’s Yearbook has been published every year, even through both World Wars. For the first time, the complete archive is now available online: a wonderful collection of interesting and useful facts and figures through the generations. Simply seeing how the book’s jacket alone has changed over the decades, gives a sense of how the world, and of course the book itself, has altered. Click on the decade you want to browse on the left-hand side of this page. Not sure where to start? Why not browse the editors’ prefaces which give you a sense of the state of the world at the time? Or, why not take a look at the first edition and compare it to the world today?

Highlights from the Archive:

Principal Events of the War, 1918 edition
Preface to the first edition, 1864 edition
Area and Population of the Principal States of the World, 1878 edition
Map of Railways, Navigable Waters and Steamboat Routes in North America, 1901 edition
Map of the New Federal District and the Capital of the Australian Commonwealth, 1910 edition
Germany, 1945 edition
Hong Kong, 1997 edition
The World's Navies, 1915 edition

The Statesman’s Yearbook History

1849      In about 1849 Sir Robert Peel comments on the need for a good reference book on countries and states.
1855      Frederick Martin comes to England and is employed by Thomas Carlyle to work on his biography of Frederick the Great.
1860      It is believed that Carlyle & Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduce Martin to Alexander Macmillan. A proposal to publish a hand-book of the ''condition, political and social, of the various states of the civilised world'' was accepted and Martin began work on it, possibly as early as 1860.
1862      A contract is signed between Alexander Macmillan and Frederick Martin at the office of Macmillan & Co in Henrietta Street, London for the publication of the Statesman's Year-Book (SYB).
1864      20th January, the first edition of the SYB is published. Priced at 8s 4d, it was 684 pages long.
1879      Alexander Macmillan secures an annual Pension for Martin from Lord Beaconsfield (Disraeli), who was ''struck by the usefulness'' of the SYB.
1882      Frederick Martin signs an agreement with Macmillan assigning the copyright in the SYB to the company.
1883      27th January, Frederick Martin dies and the editorship passes to John Scott Keltie who had been working for
Nature as a sub-editor.
1890      John Scott Keltie reorganises the SYB so that it starts with the British Empire.
1891      The first mention of electricity is made in the SYB.
1891      I P A Renwick, is taken on as the first assistant working on the SYB, his help is acknowledged in the 1892 edition.
1892      Richard Clay takes over the printing of the book from Eyre & Spottiswoode and continue to print it until 1993 (130th edition) - just over 100 years.
Maps are introduced by J Scott Keltie for the first time reflecting his interest in Geography. These include the Density of Population of the Globe, The Distribution of the British Empire, the Partition of Africa and the International Frontiers on the Pamirs.
1906      The USA is given a section of its own.
1911      Mortimer Epstein is taken on as an assistant and is named from 1913 (50th edition).
1918      John Scott Keltie is knighted.
1919      The 56th edition is delayed in order to relate all the details of the Peace terms following the end of the First World War.
1927      12th January, Scott Keltie dies. Although he held the editorship nominally until his death, his active involvement with the SYB had virtually ceased when he took on Mortimer Epstein.
Epstein officially takes over as the 3rd Editor.
1943      During the war it becomes difficult to obtain statistics from many countries and yet the SYB continued to be published with as accurate information as possible.
1946      Sigfrid Henry Steinberg takes up the position of 4th Editor of the SYB following the death of Mortimer Epstein.
1947      The United Nations is introduced and given pride of place at the front of the book
The SYB sells out within a few weeks due to paper shortages following the war.
1962      The British Empire section becomes part of the Commonwealth of Nations and the member countries are rearranged.
1964      John Paxton starts work for the SYB.
1965      Brian Hunter is taken on by S H Steinberg to contribute data to the SYB for all the communist countries except the USSR.
1969      John Paxton takes over as the 5th Editor following the sudden death of S H Steinberg. New type face (Times Roman) and page size used.
1972      New features included a map of the Gulf States of the Middle East. Also alterations to the Commonwealth section to read in alphabetical order rather than order of independence.
1975      Publication of the first The Statesman's Year-Book World Gazetteer edited by John Paxton as a companion to the SYB.
1978      Redesign and reorganisation incorporating alphabetical listing of countries, reclassification of entries and 3 special new maps for Belize & Guatemala, The Panama Canal, World Desertification. The whole of the volume was re-set and photographic typesetting was used to produce characters in complete page form on film for conversion to printing plates - printed web-offset.
1990      John Paxton retires as Editor and Brian Hunter takes over from him as the 6th Editor from 128th edition.
1994      Small maps introduced for each sovereign state to show its relative position and territorial extent within a continent, sub-continent or ocean.
1995      Human Development Index (HDI) is added to the masthead of each country. This was the first edition to have the 'Seagulls' logotype on the cover.
1996      The term ''Historical'' in the title is replaced by "Political & Economic", showing that the primary aim is to present a survey of the statistical, political & economic date of the world. A topic finding list was also introduced.
1998      Barry Turner becomes the 7th Editor of the SYB following the retirement of Brian Hunter. Removal of the hyphen from the title, up to this date the title had been The Statesman's Year-Book. From now on it becomes The Statesman's Yearbook. New features included 6 essays on topical issues written by leading political and academic figures. The International Organizations section was extended. A world map and flag illustration for the 192 countries of the world had been added.
A database is introduced to facilitate the editorial processes and typesetting of the book.
2000      Millennium edition including internet usage figures for the first time. Publication of Centenary boxed set 1900 & 2000. SYB logo appears on the cover for the first time.
2000      Macmillan's new series, Statesman's Yearbook Country Profiles, appeared in the shops in January; these guides contain essential facts which addressed the needs of business travellers.
2006      The Statesman's Yearbook Online is launched, containing half a million more words than the printed book.
2007      Enlarged format to accommodate brief biographical profiles of all current leaders in the world, Government histories, extended economic overviews, historical economic statistics, global economic overview, new half-page line maps for all 192 countries, thematic essays on subjects of economic interest.
2009      The complete archive from 1864 is made available online as part of a site license at
2011      Introduction of additional freely available material to website including Spotlight, Focus, City Profiles and Essays.
2012      Comparison Tool is added to the website, making it possible to print content.
2013      The Statesman's Yearbook 2014 (150th edition) is selected as a Core Collections Star Title in the US.
2014      Barry Turner steps down as editor. The book is now managed, researched and updated by a dedicated editorial team in London.

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