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Category: 16th century cartography

Detail of image of Massachusetts state house showing image of cod on the wall

In Cod We Trust: Fishing Grounds and National Ambitions in Early Maps of North America

Posted by: Amelia Raines

This is a guest post by Lena Denis, reference librarian in the Geography and Map Division. Growing up in a Brazilian-American household, I’ve long appreciated the delicious versatility of the Atlantic cod, scientific name Gadus morhua, known to the Portuguese-speaking world as bacalhau in its preferred salted and dried form. It was only when I …

Photo of a hand holding a copper plate engraved with a map of Chicago, showing a side view of the thin plate

Fabricating the World: Copperplate Printing

Posted by: Amelia Raines

Copperplate printing was a major method of map production for several hundred years. This post explores the history of printing maps with engraved copper plates, featuring several example maps and photographs of copper plates from the Geography and Map Division collections. This is the first post in a new series about map printing and creation, Fabricating the World.

Southern Lands, Explorers, and Bears – Oh My!

Posted by: Amelia Raines

The story of the naming of America has been told before – not surprisingly considering the object central to the story, Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map, is one of the most important treasures in the Geography and Map Division. The name was bestowed by the mapmaker to show his support for Amerigo Vespucci’s argument that …

The Elusive Isle of Demons

Posted by: Cynthia Smith

Starting in the 16th century, an island off the coast of Newfoundland was labeled as the “Isle of Demons.” Rumors spread that those who ventured near the island heard strange noises. Mariners believed that the Isle of Demons was inhabited by evil spirits; they were afraid to visit the island or to sail near it. …