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Category: Exploration

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 …

A photo of the Jno. Glidden ship as it sinks.

Lost at Sea: The Treasure Maps of the Library of Congress

Posted by: Cynthia Smith

A picture of a skull and crossbones marks the location of a special collection in the Geography and Map Division. The collection consists of wreck charts published by U.S. federal government agencies, treasure maps made by famous cartographers during the 18th and 19th centuries, and treasure maps published by commercial companies during the mid -20th …

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 …

An image of the book "The Travels of Marco Polo.

Who drew the Map with Ship?

Posted by: Cynthia Smith

Featured below is a map known as the “Map with Ship.” The map was donated to the Library of Congress in 1943 by a retired merchant and author named Marcian F. Rossi.  Marcian Rossi was born in Italy in 1870. He moved to the United States during the 1880s. The Rossi family inherited a collection …

Printed map of Africa north of the Equator, showing toponyms, landforms, and explorers' routes

Improvements in Geography: An 18th-Century Map of North Africa

Posted by: Amelia Raines

In 1798, James Rennell, an English cartographer primarily known for his maps of British territories in India and South Asia, published A map shewing the progress of discovery & improvement, in the geography of North Africa. This map combined geographical information gathered from sources spanning more than 1.5 millennia, from recent explorers all the way …