(The title of this post is a satirical improvisation on a quote attributed to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, when expressing his views towards the westward expansion of the United States.) Somewhere between China’s Heilongjiang Province (Manchuria) and the Russian Far East, nestled in a southern crook of Siberia’s Amur River, lies […]
Sponsored by the Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library and the MacLean Collection Map Library in Chicago, IL, the Library of Congress is pleased to announce its participation entitled Mapping A World of Cities in a joint project with the American Geographical Society (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), the David Rumsey Map Center (Stanford Libraries, California), […]
William Hacke was one of the most prolific manuscript chart makers for his time. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Hacke produced over 300 navigational charts from 1682 to 1702. In this post I will briefly discuss his career and his role in the pardon of the notorious pirate Bartholomew Sharp. William Hacke was […]
In the years following the epic struggle for control of North America between the French and British empires, it became apparent to the Royal Navy that there was a considerable lack of adequate charting along the eastern coasts of North America. Thus was born one of the largest charting undertakings to date: The Atlantic Neptune. […]
Celebrated as a state holiday in Utah, Pioneer Day commemorates the first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints entering the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Since the foundation of the Church in 1830, Latter-day Saints were faced with persecution and driven out of every community they started in New […]
This post focuses on three decorative 19th century fans from the collections of the Geography and Map Division. The art of Asian fan making dates to ancient times. According to Gonglin Qian, author of Chinese Fans: Artistry and Aesthetics the earliest Chinese fan that has been found dates from 475 to 221 BC. It was […]
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, occurred on both the location and the sesquicentennial of the Circassian genocide in 1864.
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 North America. A fourth map, also published in London, depicts the extent of the United States in 1802.Arguably the most important of the first three pre-1800 maps addressed in this blog is John Mitchell’s iconic 1755 Map of the British and French Dominions in North America pictured above. At the request of the English Board of Trade and Plantations, the equivalent of the State Department, Mitchell was tasked with preparing a large map of North America based upon maps provided by each of the thirteen colonial governors. The intriguing story behind the map lies with its illustrated claim of English sovereignty extending from the Atlantic Ocean westward past the Mississippi and, eventually, to the Pacific Ocean. These claims are evidenced by the horizontal colonial boundaries extending into French territory.
Our second map, pictured below, was originally published in London by Emanuel Bowen in 1763. Unlike Mitchell’s map, which incorporated the territorial aspirations of the British colonies, the 1763 map by Bowen illustrated the political realities dictated by the 1763 Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Year’s War in North America.
The third revolutionary map in our saga was published in London by Carington Bowles in 1771. Like the Bowen map illustrated above, it, too, includes colonial territory lost in 1763, but also emphasizes unsettled colonial boundaries. Of those, the most notable are the western boundary of Pennsylvania, the northeastern boundary of Virginia, and the western boundary of New York, as establishment of each defined those colonies’ access to Lake Erie.The final map of North America in our brief exploration of revolutionary maps was published in London in 1802. Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823) produced the most current and accurate cartographic representation of the American West up to that date. Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark carefully studied the map in 1803 and even carried a copy on the first leg of their landmark expedition. Arrowsmith’s map immediately pre-dates the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and subsequent 1804-06 expedition by Lewis & Clark. Rather than fill in the American West with conjectural or inaccurate data, he has deliberately left large areas blank, allowing viewers to envision for themselves the nature of the vast territory recently acquired before the landscape could be recorded by scientific surveys. So why are these maps significant? And how do they illustrate cartographic perception and geographic reality? First, British control of North America is implied in Mitchell’s 1755 map which depicts British colonies extending from “sea to sea”. Secondly, the geographic reality of British control of North America are all shown on the commercially produced 1763 Bowen map, the 1774 Bowles’ map, and Arrowsmith’s 1802 map which all relied on factual data. It all comes down to the intentions of each cartographer and those who employed the cartographers!
Creating the United States. A Library of Congress exhibit drawing heavily on items related to American Revolution from various parts of the Library. (April 2008 – May 2012).
Rivers, Edens, and Empires: Lewis and Clark and the Revealing of America. A Library of Congress exhibit showcasing items from various collections the related to Lewis and Clark expedition. (July 2003 – November 2003).
Hy-Brasil never existed, however, it was often shown on maps as a very small island west of Ireland. The name Hy-Brasil originated from Celtic mythology. According to Irish folklore an island named Hy-Brasil was visible from the west coast of Ireland for only one day every seven years, the rest of the time it was […]
This is a guest post by Rachel Trent, Digital Collections and Automation Coordinator in the Geography and Map Division. Interested in bulk downloading maps from the Library of Congress’s online collections? Need a corpus of historical map images to build a training dataset for your machine learning model? Looking to learn more about Python or APIs? Curious […]