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Blogs Categories: American History

Blogs Categories: American History

The Exotic Animals of the Americas

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European colonists were fascinated with the wildlife of the Western Hemisphere. They described fauna native to the Americas in memoirs, travel journals and poetry. Pictures of the unfamiliar animals were often printed on maps. In this post I will discuss four colonial era maps that were decorated with illustrations of animals. The two maps of …

Brown, red, and yellow tinted map illustration of the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, with a circular frame around them

18th Century Maps of North America: Perception vs. Reality

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Between 1755 and 1775, over the course of just twenty years, three seminal maps of North America were published in London, even though those responsible for the maps never left England! These three maps, discussed in more detail below, were prepared for a British audience in an attempt to reinforce opinions regarding British control of …

Brown, red, and yellow tinted map illustration of the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, with a circular frame around them

Race for the Gold: Map Games of the Klondike Gold Rush

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One of my favorite computer games as a child was called The Yukon Trail. Made in 1994, the player became a prospector in the late 19th century Klondike gold rush, navigating the treacherous trail in an attempt to stay alive and strike it rich. What I recently discovered while browsing our map collections is that games related …

Brown, red, and yellow tinted map illustration of the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, with a circular frame around them

Canals of Washington, DC

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Washington, D.C., was established as the “permanent seat of the Federal Government” by the passage of the Residence Act in 1790. This act allowed President George Washington to select the site for the new city anywhere along the banks of the Potomac River between its junction with the Shenandoah River, near present day Harpers Ferry, …