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Maps from The World Digital Library

Maps are much more than geographical representations of places. In addition to teaching geographic understanding, maps illustrate change over time. They can tell us about the people who made them, the times in which they lived, and what they knew and didn’t know. Maps can also make an argument. Maps have been used to claim new territory, to insult rivals and to attack competitors. The Library of Congress has gathered this group of maps together for teachers and students. Analyzing maps helps students discover new topics to explore further and can support the development of critical thinking skills that they can apply to other representations of the world. With the supporting Teacher's Guide, explore the historical background of a variety of maps, examine different types of maps, and recognize the value of analyzing maps as primary sources.

http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/wdl/

Map of the Sea

The Carta Marina of the Swedish geographer and historian Olaus Magnus is one of the earliest accurate cartographic depictions of the Scandinavian peninsula. Drafted in Rome in 1539, by one of the more prominent Scandinavian Catholics in higher ecclesiastical service, it contains detail that is lacking in many other early maps of the region. Originally intended for his Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (a description of the Nordic peoples), the map was published some 15 years before the appearance of this majestic work. Olaus Magnus is generally regarded as the first to propound the idea of a Northeast Passage. This is the second edition of this map, published by Antoine Lafréry in 1572.

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Maps from the World Digital Library: Teacher's Guide

Teacher's guide to the primary resource set, Maps from the World Digital Library.

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Atlas of the World

The Ch’ŏnha chido (Atlas of the world) is a 19th century copy of the traditional Korean atlas produced in the early Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910). One of the maps in the atlas, "Ch’ŏnhado" (Map of the world), is a unique and popular China-centered world map seen in Korean perspective. The typical contents of the traditional Korean atlases during this period consist of the following: a world map bearing the title Ch’ŏnhado, a map of Korea, maps of the eight provinces of Korea, and maps of neighboring countries: China, Japan, and the Ryukyu Islands. Various scholars have attributed the imaginary place names in Ch’ŏnhad to Shanghaijing. Shanghaijing (Classic of mountains and seas) is a compilation of the descriptions of the ancient world of China, written during the Chin dynasty in the 3rd century B.C. The map of China in this atlas prominently depicts the Great Wall and the Yellow and Yangtze rivers. This map may have been derived from a map produced during the Chinese Ming Empire (1368-1644).

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Bacon's Standard Map of Europe

This map of Europe by the prominent British publisher G.W. Bacon & Co., Ltd., shows Europe in the immediate aftermath of World War I. Among the political and territorial changes brought about by the war were the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, the overthrow of the tsarist government in Russia, the establishment or re-establishment of the independent states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, the transfer of Alsace-Lorraine from Germany to France, and the expansion of Italian territory to include the region around Trieste. The inset map at the upper right shows population densities, ranging from the very sparsely populated northern Scandinavia to the thickly settled regions of western Germany, the Low Countries, and southern England. The map gives a total population for Europe of 475 million people. Also shown are steamship routes and time zones.

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Brazil

This early map of Brazil is by Jacopo Gastaldi (circa 1500-circa 1565), a Piedmontese cartographer who worked in Venice and rose to the position of cosmographer of the Venetian Republic. Gastaldi produced maps and illustrations for parts of Delle Navigationi et Viaggi (Travels and voyages), a compilation of travel writings by the Venetian diplomat and geographer Giovanni Battista Ramusio (1485-1557). Ramusio’s work contained more than 50 memoirs, including the writings of Marco Polo.

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Codex Totomixtlahuaca

This indigenous pictographic document is a colonial-era map from the Mixtecan, Tlapaneca, and Nahua cultural area in the present-day state of Guerrero, Mexico. The map describes a geographical area, framed by various identified towns and crossed by two rivers. Different individuals, probably noble landowners, are mentioned in various open spaces. The drawings of plants or animals are not decorative elements: their purpose is to describe the characteristics of the land or of agricultural parcels, or they are in themselves the glyphic names of people and places that also convey their names in Nahuatl. Crosses are used to denote churches. Place names, such as Santo Domingo, are in Spanish. The main text refers to the meeting of thetlahtoani, or lord of Xochitonalan, and various other lords in Totomixtlahuacan, to clarify ownership of the land in this locale. The map is from the collection of CONDUMEX, and was acquired by auction in San Francisco, California, in 1973.

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Emigrant's Map and Guide for Routes to North America


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A Plan of the Estate Called Jonas's Situated in the Division of North Sound in the Island of Antigua: The Property of Peter Langford Brooke, Esquire

In the colonial period, the Langford Brooke family of Mere in Cheshire, England, owned several properties on the island of Antigua. This map from 1821 shows the Jonas estate. The references at the right provide information about the shares of land devoted to growing sugar cane and to other uses, as well as a key to the plantation’s structures, which included the windmill, boiling house, curing house, rum cellar, the overseer’s rooms, the sick house and laying-in room, the great house and offices, and pens for mules and cattle. An accompanying ground plan, produced by the same surveyor, depicted the estate’s works and buildings in more detail. Antigua’s earliest inhabitants were the Siboney people, followed by Arawak and Carib Indians. The first European to visit the island was Christopher Columbus in 1493, who named it “Santa Maria de la Antigua.” In 1632, the British established a colony on Antigua, and began importing large numbers of slaves from Africa to work on its sugar cane plantations. The slaves were freed in 1834, but many former slaves continued to work on the sugar plantations. In 1981, Antigua became independent as part of the country of Antigua and Barbuda.

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Fortress of Dio: Plans of Plazas and Forts of Portuguese Possessions in Asia and Africa

This drawing shows the fortress of Diu, located on an island off the northwest coast of India. In 1509, the Portuguese defeated the forces of the Sultan of Gujarat in the Battle of Diu, thereby securing dominance over trade routes in the Indian Ocean. Construction of this fortress-garrison complex began in 1535, under an agreement with the sultan, but the agreement fell apart and the sultan’s troops attacked the fort in 1537. The fortress was reconstructed in 1545 by João de Castro (1500-48), a Portuguese naval commander and the fourth viceroy of Portuguese India.

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The Attack of Manilla, October 1762

The Seven Years' War (1756-63) was a world-wide conflict between Britain and France that also involved Spain as an ally of France. In 1762, the British sent Admiral William Draper, with an expeditionary force of some 2,000 European and Indian (Sepoy) soldiers, to attack Manila in the Spanish colony of the Philippines. The Spanish offered little opposition, and on October 2, 1762, the acting governor-general, Archbishop Manuel Antonio Rojo, surrendered the city. The British occupation lasted until 1764, when the Philippines reverted to Spanish control as part of the peace settlement. This map depicts where the British landed and the assault from the south. It shows the British warships (some of which are individually identified) and many other features, including roads, houses, churches, vegetation, and cultivated fields.

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Geographical Game of the French Republic

J.N. Mauborgne, a former professor of geography in Paris, created this “geographical game of the French Republic” in honor of the government of the National Convention during the French Revolution. Mauborgne’s game involves traveling around republican France, which was divided into 83 “departments,” the new unit of territorial administration that the Revolution introduced to replace the much larger historical provinces. Each space on the map shows a different department with its departmental capital, or chef-lieu. Players move counter-clockwise about the board from department to department, ending on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, which is draped in the words “liberty” and “equality” and crowned by a Phrygian bonnet dangling on a pike. The game board also features, in the upper left hand corner, an inset map of France’s Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue and numerous Gallic roosters, which the Revolution transformed into a popular national image.

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A Chart of the Gulf Stream

This map, from the Peter Force Map Collection at the Library of Congress, was created by the Philadelphia engraver James Poupard. It was the third in a series featuring a chart of the Gulf Stream. The latter was well known to Spanish ship captains, who relied on it to sail from the Americas to the Iberian Peninsula, but there were no universal charts or maps due to Spanish secrecy. This map originally was sketched by Timothy Folger, a Nantucket fisherman and a cousin of Benjamin Franklin, who conceived the map and actively promoted study of the Gulf Stream. Franklin published the original chart in 1770 and sought to distribute it among mariners, but British sea captains skeptical of colonial ideas largely refused to purchase copies.

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View of Quebec, Capital of Canada

This illustrated map, from the Rochambeau Collection of the Library of Congress, presents a striking panorama of the City of Quebec during its last years as the capital of New France, the French colony of Canada. Drawn in 1755 by Royal Geographer Georges-Louis Le Rouge, the map identifies ten key sites throughout the city. Located on the St. Lawrence River, Quebec was an administrative, military, and commercial hub, as well as a religious center that was home to a cathedral, bishop’s palace, seminary, and Jesuit mission. Originally established in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec became the capital of New France in 1663. In the Battle of Quebec (June-September 1759), one of the culminating struggles of the Seven Years’ War (1754-63), the French, under the Marquis de Montcalm, were forced to surrender the city to an invading British force led by General James Wolfe. Four years later, France ceded most of its Canadian possessions in North America to Great Britain.

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Hydrographic Map of the Famous Rio de Janeiro Bay Where the ão Sebastião City is Situated

This map of the bay of Rio de Janeiro shows the city of São Sebastião, the bay entrance, the island, and the rivers entering the bay. During the colonial period, the city of São Sebastião was an agricultural center and its port was a major shipping point for gold from Minas Gerais. The map is the work of Luis dos Santos Vilhena (1744-1814), who lived in Salvador, where he worked as a teacher of Greek and Latin. Vilhena wrote extensively about life in Portuguese Brazil, often expressing the frustration of many immigrants about living in the colony.

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The Sigüenza Map

This map is a cartographic history of the migration of the Aztec from Aztlán to Tenochtitlan. Created in the pictographic style typical of the central Mexican and Puebla valleys during the Post-Classical period, it is the only map of its kind known to exist. The map shows the path of the migration, along with the story of the places passed and of the migration itself. Alongside the glyph for each location are symbols representing the amount of time spent in each location. A trail of footprints connects these locations. The original migration of the Aztec from the mythical Aztlán to Tenochtitlan marks the historical and symbolic evolution of the Aztec people: their blessing by the gods, founding events in their history, their heroes and leaders, and finally, their settlement on the island of Tenochtitlan, from where they eventually dominated their world.

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Saint Augustine Map, 1589

This engraved hand-colored map or view-plan by Baptista Boazio depicts Sir Francis Drake's attack on Saint Augustine on May 28-29, 1586. Boazio, an Italian who worked in London from about 1585 to 1603, made maps to illustrate accounts of English expeditions and campaigns. He prepared a series of maps marking Drake's route for Walter Bigges' work on Drake's expedition to the West Indies, first published in 1588 and followed by later editions. This map highlights an episode from Drake's Caribbean expedition, pictorially portraying how the English corsair (privateer) captured and burned the fort and city of Saint Augustine. The plan includes an illustration of a mahi-mahi, also known as a dolphinfish, which Boazio most likely copied from drawings by John White, governor of the Raleigh settlement in what was then Virginia (present-day North Carolina). Boazio’s map is the earliest engraving of any city or territory now part of the United States.

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A Map of the Entire World According to the Traditional Method of Ptolemy and Corrected with Other Lands of Amerigo Vespucci

Martin Waldseemüller's 1507 world map was the first map to depict a separate Western hemisphere with the Pacific as a separate ocean. It drew upon data gathered during Amerigo Vespucci's 1501-02 voyages to the New World. In recognition of Vespucci's understanding that a new continent had been discovered, Waldseemüller christened the new lands "America." This is the only known surviving copy of the first edition of the map, of which it is believed 1,000 copies were printed. By showing the newly-found American land mass, the map represented a huge leap forward in knowledge – one that forever changed the European understanding of a world previously divided into just three parts: Europe, Asia, and Africa.

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