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        Library of Congress: Media Gallery | 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.

        Learn more about the Library's map collection.

        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.

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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.

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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 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 is a unique and popular China-centered world map seen in Korean perspective.

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        Bacon's Standard Map of Europe

        This map of Europe by the prominent British publisher shows Europe in the immediate aftermath of World War I. Among the 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.

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        Brazil

        This early map of Brazil is by Jacopo Gastaldi, 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.

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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.

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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.

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        Map of the Sea

        The Carta Marina of the Swedish geographer Olaus Magnus is one of the earliest accurate cartographic depictions of the Scandinavian peninsula. Drafted in Rome in 1539, by a prominent Scandinavian Catholics in higher ecclesiastical service, it contains detail that is lacking in many other early maps.

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        The Attack of Manilla, October 1762

        The Seven Years' War was a world-wide conflict between Britain and France that also involved Spain as a French ally. In 1762, the British sent Admiral William Draper, with a force of some 2,000 European and Indian (Sepoy) soldiers, to attack Manila in the Spanish colony of the Philippines.

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        Geographical Game of the French Republic

        J.N. Mauborgne created this geographical game of the French Republic in honor of the government of the National Convention. Mauborgne’s game involves traveling around republican France, which was divided into 83 units of territorial administration that the Revolution introduced.

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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.

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        View of Quebec, Capital of Canada

        This illustrated map, from the Rochambeau Collection, presents a 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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