This is a map by Tobias Lotter, entitled Mappa geographica regionem Mexicanum et Floridam. The map was made roughly in the middle of the 18th century, around 1750, and, again, it marks the way in which the territories of the new world had, by that time, been marked out. There is a longish green portion to the east coast of North America, which are the then-British colonies. In the middle of the country, the lower half of the entire Mississippi Basin, as well as in the Florida peninsula, there is a pink mass all labeled Florida, and then a yellow portion descending below that reflects the Hispanic influence, all the way from what is now Mexico down through Central America. Like other maps by Lotter, the engraving is a little heavy-handed, but it sure pops out at you and catches your eye. In the lower left hand corner reflecting so much of the conflict that existed in the mid-18th century, between England and France and between Spain and each of them and between some other countries, including Holland, we see a pitched battle going on between cross-masted sailing warships with explosive clouds as one ship cannonaded another. Adding to the human interest, a further part of that illustration in the lower left depicts a number of people at the coast, with the one with a spyglass, one gesturing, observing this conflict going on. The map is also well known for depicting some of the important ports of the area. There’s a very large depiction, for example, of the port of Cartagena, as well as several others. All together, a map that tells several stories and is well worth a close look.
This is a map by Abraham Ortelius – an early map entitled “Hispaniae Novae Sivae Magnae, Recens et Vera Descriptio” that was made by Ortelius in 1579, so it’s one of the earlier maps in the collection. It basically depicts New Spain, which became Mexico for the most part, but also pushing up into parts of what is now the United States of America. The cartouches are typical of Ortelius’ work in that in that mapmaker’s conception, a strap-type of design was highly popular, and you see two examples of it both in the lower left-hand corner and in the upper right-hand corner. And adding piquance to the whole thing, various sardonic characters or animals peer out from curls in the cartouche, and a devilish figure with horns appears on top.
This map features quite a number of cities in what again became- ultimately became Mexico. But in the period of time when it was still New Spain, there were many fables about what these cities were like, and some were reputed to have streets of gold, and, no doubt, maps like this only increased the ardor of future explorers to seek out those cities and make their riches.
 “Cartouche, in architecture, ornamentation in scroll form, applied especially to elaborate frames around tablets or coats of arms. By extension, the word is applied to any oval shape or even to a decorative shield, whether scroll-like in appearance or not.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/art/cartouche Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.
 Piquance can be defined as “a tart spicy quality” or “the quality of being agreeably stimulating or mentally exciting.” https://www.thefreedictionary.com/piquance Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.
 Sardonic can be defined as “disdainfully or skeptically humorous” or “derisively mocking.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sardonic Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.
This is a map, truly, to be reckoned with. It’s a map that was made by a Frenchman by the name of Guillaume de L’Isle and is entitled “Carte de la Louisiane et du cours du Mississippi.” The map was originally made by de L’Isle in approximately 1718. What we have here is a reprint of the map by a French firm Cóvens and Mortier dating to 1730. When it was first made in 1718, this map was a real breakthrough. It charted the course of the Mississippi with an accuracy that had never been seen before. Of course, the Mississippi, uh, the Upper Mississippi and the Lower Mississippi were both, at that time, the province of French explorers and, perhaps equally important, French fur-traders who went up and down the Mississippi as the main “highway” plying their fur trade.
The map is important for other reasons as well. It is the first map ever to name Texas, which appears as “Mission de los Teijas” on the map, but it is that expression that matured to the name of America’s largest state among the forty-eight lower states. It is also distinctive because the territory in the middle called “La Louisiane” is huge. It surrounds all of the Mississippi, plunges down into Florida, presses up against the Carolinas and Virginia, and the overwhelming sense is that the French occupy most of the new North American continent. The British Colonies along the eastern seaboard barely cling on to the seaboard that they occupy, and this would be followed, later, by maps prepared by Englishmen showing the French portion of North America as much reduced and the English Colonies as extending a lot further out into the middle of the country than they do here. In many ways, this map is the father, or mother, of many maps to follow. De L’Isle was highly respected and this work of his would be reflected in maps for many generations to follow.
This map is entitled a new chart of the Bahama Islands and the Windward Passage. Well, this “new” chart, it was actually done in 1749, but at the time it was a contribution to one’s understanding of that portion of the Caribbean, lower Florida, and the Bahamas themselves. One of the distinctive features of the map is its depiction of two areas that are not in fact above water. One being the Bahama Bank and the other being the Grand Bahama Bank and, as the map shows, those relatively shallow areas surround the Bahamas. The shallowness of those banks provide for lots of good fishing, they also over time provided lots of ways in which ships could and did run aground. Cuba is at the very center of the map, Jamaica below it and off to the right a portion of Hispaniola. The entire map is full of rhumb lines, which were very useful to navigators and helped them lay out courses using one portion of a rhumb line and then another in order to get from A to B. There’s a beautiful compass rose and lots of color in what is I think a most soft and attractive map of that part of the world.
This map is actually four maps. It’s done by a German mapmaker by the name of Homann, and all together the four images are referred to as “Dominia Anglorum in America Septentrionali” – basically, four of the British colonies, English Colonies, in the North American continent. This being done by a German mapmaker, each one of the areas, Newfoundland for example, the New England area, Carolina and part of Florida, and Virginia and Maryland are nicely colored, each reflecting the jurisdictional boundaries of the day. So, when one looks at this particular map, which was made originally in 1725 and then reprinted several times afterwards, you’re seeing a version of, for example, New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania that shows the Iroquois as occupying a very large portion of what is now Pennsylvania and New York, with New York squashed to the right and New England squashed still further to the right. Again, like so many antique maps, this tells us a great deal about the way in which the lay of the land ran back at the time, and it’s always fascinating to compare it with what we know to be the geography and the boundaries of countries and states today. Almost certainly, all those boundaries will, over the next one-hundred or two-hundred years, evolve still further; so, with maps like this, we get to see a snapshot in time of four areas. So, stay tuned! We’ll see what they look like in another one-hundred years.
This is a map that was produced by Standard Oil of New Jersey – ESSO, I guess it later became – and it depicts the Pan-American Highway, which runs from the very top of the North American continent all the way down to, uh, the bottom. Along the way, Standard Oil and the mapmaker include all manner of illustrations, each one of which has a beguiling nature to it, suggesting that travelling along the Pan-American Highway would be a wonderful and entertaining thing to do. It was a day, of course, when the great oil companies and recently organizations like Exxon and Sunoco would all publish maps of various subjects, frequently state-by-state and offer them free-of-sale to motorists who just came by to fill their gas tank. The oil companies have largely discontinued that practice in the face of modern technology and GPS systems, and it’s probably not cost effective to do it anymore. But this map reflects kind of a romantic notion that all of the Americas were now available to the motorist and it was time to get in the car and go see North and South America.
 “The Pan-American Highway is a network of roads stretching across the American continents and measuring about 30,000 kilometres (19,000 mi) in total length. Except for a rainforest break of approximately 106 km (70 mi) across the border between southeast Panama and northwest Colombia, called the Darién Gap, the roads link almost all of the Pacific coastal countries of the Americas in a connected highway system.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-American_Highway Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
Title: Pictorial map of the American continent : featuring the Pan American Highway and showing some of the natural resources, scenic wonders, and points of interest
Contributor: General Drafting Company, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
This map is a map called “North America” that was made by a mapmaker named John Tallis in 1851. Tallis was well known for the high quality of his engraving work and also known for the ways in which he would illustrate various features of the subject of his map. So, in this particular case we have a wonderful collection of images: Images of the indigenous peoples of the north, in the very top. Off to the right, images of beavers, the beaver having been a major economic force in the development of the Americas because their pelts were so widely desired. Pictures of travelers and explorers. Pictures on the left-hand side of Indians next to their teepee and a magnificent buck on the left-hand side as well. Tallis also has a unique border – very delicate, very attractive. And all together, this beautifully colored map makes a nice impression.
This is a map of Southeast Asia, including China, including the Korean Peninsula, and including Japan with a little bit of the Philippines down below for good measure. This map was done actually by both the mapmaker Willem Blaeu and also the mapmaker Jan Jansson, and was prepared by both of them in the 1630s. They were great rivals.
This particular map was a great advancement at the time. Before it was done, a mapmaker by the name of Abraham Ortelius had tried to depict East Asia, and it was very, very rough-hewn indeed. One might say the same of this map, but it has to be noted that it is, and was, a significant, significant improvement.
Several features might be pointed out. There is an island called “Pakan al I. Formosa,” which is modern-day Taiwan. Off to the west, there is a completely mythical lake, “Lake Chiamay,” in the western-extreme portion of the map, that happens to be where Assam, India now lies. So, you can see that, as with so many maps of this period, there was a lot of guesswork being engaged in by the mapmaker and not all of it was right. Happily, this map has survived in very good condition and is marked by beautiful delineation of the best knowledge that the mapmakers had at that time.
This is a map by a mapmaker by the name of Jan Jansson who lived from 1588 to 1664. This was one of the prize maps in my collection, and I’m so glad that it is now in Villanova University’s Special Collections. It is a depiction of the lower portion of the then-known portions of North America, plus the Central American region, and the very top of the continent of South America. Featured are the great islands of the Caribbean, including Cuba and Hispaniola, and then of course the string of islands that radiate to the east from Hispaniola and circle down to the South American continent, the so-called Windward Islands. In this map we have two compass roses; each is the starting point for a series of lines called Rhumb lines which could, and in many cases were, used by mariners to plot courses, at least portions of courses, as they navigated from one part of the world to another. Like so many maps of the day it also is rich with illustrations – there are ships on the sea, there are various creatures – a lizard, a turtle, a snake and others – and circling the cartouche in the upper left-hand corner of this map. Again this map is called Insulae Americanae in Oceano Septentrionali, and it is a prize edition of an early map of the Caribbean.
This map is a depiction by a mapmaker by the name of Hondius, Hendrikus Hondius, dating to roughly 1630 (or) 1631. It is full of activity. There are galleons. There are large sailing ships. There is a conflict going on between two of them in the Pacific, the so-called Mar-del-Zur. And there is activity all over. At the very foot of South America there is a sea creature, a fairly large sea creature belching water – probably not a creature that the average mariner would want to run into. And a similar creature appears on the left-hand side.
There are various insets. One depicting the top of the world, the Arctic region. And one depicting the bottom of the world, the Antarctic region.
If one looks through the map at various points where there may be a blank spot, the mapmaker has chosen to fill them in with some interesting animal life or other activity that characterized that part of the world. Obviously, by this date, not too much was known by the interior either of South America or North America, and when one looks up to the North American portion of the map, there is a great deal of blank space, a great deal of geography yet to be discovered.