Top of page

Category: 16th century cartography

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. …

Detail of printed map of Florida. The Everglades bear the label "Extensive inundated region covered with pine and hummock islands, of all sizes, and generally called The Ever Glades."

Swampland in Florida

Posted by: Amelia Raines

Recently I came across an interesting map of Florida in our collections. Dated 1823, the map was made only four years after the territory of Florida was ceded to the United States by Spain, and 22 years before it became a state in its own right. The map, authored by surveyor Charles Vignoles and engraved …