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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 …

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 …

Illustrated and illuminated map of the northern Indian Ocean showing ships, islands, wildlife, cities, and people

Winds of (Ex)Change in the Indian Ocean

Posted by: Amelia Raines

Take a look at this monsoon chart, paying special attention to the western Indian Ocean between the east coast of Africa and the west coast of India, and you might notice a pattern: The left chart depicts the prevailing winds in the Indian Ocean in February; the right, in August. In winter, a sea of …