Pensylvania, Nova Jersey et Nova York cum regionibus ad Fluvium Delaware in America sitis

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This is a map by Tobias Lotter focused on Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. It is an extraordinary map for lots of reasons. The depiction of the geography and political boundaries of the day reflect the way things were in the, uh, 1760s. Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey — great prominence; and Philadelphia is, at the time, the largest city reflected, marked as it is by a very large red eight-pointed star in the middle. Several comments are in order.

This map was made by a German mapmaker, Lotter, and he made it in response to great interest back in Germany about the area depicted. Eastern Pennsylvania was, after all, one of the principal places in which Germans emigrating to the Americas settled, and there would be more to come in part because of maps like this. They answered a felt need in Europe to tell a little bit more about what it is that this “New World” would look like if they, uh- if they came. In the, uh, upper left-hand corner, is a, uh, huge cartouche[1] – a colorful cartouche reflecting William Penn trading with indigenous people, and running through the, uh, the rest of the cartouche are a variety of animals – a wild turkey in the middle, a stag with great horns in the, uh, upper-right – and throughout there is activity that immediately draws the eye.

Another interesting feature of the map is the distortion of, uh, New England, which may, in part, have been intentional or, in part, simply for lack of knowledge. But New York is, uh, squeezed beyond recognition. Connecticut, uh, the same. Rhode Island is a mere blip. Massachusetts is highly narrowed and, remarkably, Cape Cod is reflected as being part of Connecticut. So, a lot of re-organizing of the understanding of this part of the world was yet to come. But, uh, as a map, and as a piece of attractive propaganda for coming to this part of the New World, the Lotter map is hard to surpass.

[1] “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.

 

 

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Nova et accurata poli Arctici

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This is a map by Jan Jansson entitled “Nova et Accurata Poli Arctici.” It is a map of the top of the world. As we have already seen in map IV-30, the de L’Isle map of the northern hemisphere, there have been lots of different understandings of what the top half of the Earth looks like. This one, having been done in 1642, is considerably less finished – less full of understanding – than those that followed. One can see lots of wonderfully intersecting rhumb lines.[1] Now, however, because we are at the top of the Earth and all of the rhumb lines have to meet at the North Pole, there is a marvelous concatenation of lines gathering as one gets closer and closer to the center, uh, the North Pole.

Again, we see, both the top of North America, the top of Europe, and the top of Asia, as it was then, as they each were then understood, all quite uncertain. Of the cartouches[2], and there are, there’s one in the upper-portion and one in the lower-right are, uh, wonderfully imaginative. Winds are blowing from various faces. And in the lower-right we have a marvelous combination of two explorers, a polar bear, and what look like two, uh, a fox perhaps, uh, a fox and a deer, or maybe two foxes – some of the wildlife that, um, might have been discovered or seen up in that northern reach.

When compared with still earlier versions of the North Pole, others of which are in the Villanova collection, we get a wonderful series of views as man’s understanding of the northern parts of the world became better and better. It might be said, however, that as our accuracy improved, the colorfulness of the various depictions declined. And I still have a great fondness for these maps in the 1600s and the 1500s which tell their own wonderful story however mythological they might be.

[1] “In navigation, a rhumb line […] is an arc crossing all meridians of longitude at the same angle, that is, a path with constant bearing as measured relative to true or magnetic north.” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhumb_line
[2] “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

 

 

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Tabula selenographica

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This is a print by Doppelmayr and Homann of two understandings of the Moon. Now, it’s easy to guess that one of the depictions, perhaps the one on the left, is of the side facing the Earth and the other is the side not facing the Earth – but we know that one side of the Moon is always facing the Earth, and, at the time that these maps were prepared, in the mid-18th Century, humankind had no idea what the backside of the Moon looked like. So, what are these? Well, the depiction of the Moon on the left-hand side is a depiction that a mapmaker by the name of Hevelius (H-E-V-E-L-I-U-S) created, and his depiction of the Moon is sufficiently accurate that it became the foundation for most of the science of Selenography[1] that would follow in the centuries afterward. On the right-hand side is a different depiction of the same facing side of the Moon, this one by Riccioli for a Franciscan priest by the name of Grimaldi- er, excuse me, a Jesuit priest by the name of Grimaldi. What’s interesting about this depiction is that its names are the ones that stuck, and the way of referring to the Moon is the way we refer to it today. So, for example, on the left-hand side, the Hevelius side, we have a large dark section called “Mediterraneum,” but that same area is depicted on the Riccioli side as “Mare Imbrium,” the term that is still used today in referring to that part of the Moon. Of course, the Riccioli terminology was in part based on the erroneous notion that there were actual seas, hence the term “Mare” or “Sea.” We now know that there is not surface water, at least not surface water of any, uh, significance, on the Moon, but those are the names that stuck.

What’s also interesting about both the depictions is although one side of the Moon is always facing the Earth, there is enough variation from month to month that a little bit more than one half of the Moon’s surface is visible from time-to-time from the Earth, uh, hence the overlapping circles in both cases. As, uh, one can also see, there are some wonderful depictions of Cherubs – uh, one Cherub holding on his shoulder and the other looking through, presumably, emulating the way in which the early viewers of the Moon used telescopes to learn more about the surface.

[1] Selenography can be defined as “the science of the physical features of the moon” or “lunar geography.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selenography Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.

 

 

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Hemisphere Septentrional pour voir plus distinctement les Terres Arctiques

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This is a view of the top half of the world by Guillaume de L’Isle. The “Hemisphere Septentrional” is depicted as well as the then-state of geographic knowledge permitted; but, as one can see, there is some uncertainty as to what exactly were the northern reaches of the North American continent, left quite non-distinct, as well as what the top of Greenland might have looked like, with some greater distinctiveness at the top of Europe.

It is a great map by a great mapmaker, de L’isle, and was printed by the house of Covens and Mortier. We don’t often think of the world in this fashion – looking down from above. But it is instructive to see what the world really looks like from that vantage point and how close we come to touching one another at the top of the world.

 

 

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A new map of part of the United States of North America

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This is a map by a mapmaker named John Cary dating to 1819, relatively early in the Republic. It is very densely annotated on the, uh, coast, and those annotations become increasingly sparse as one goes west in Pennsylvania or New York on into what is referred to here as the “Northwest Territory.” Ohio and Indiana and so forth have not yet come into existence, so Cary doesn’t have a great deal to tell us about what has- what will become of them. But his depiction of, uh, the- the Great Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron, at least as far as it goes, are more-or-less accurate and an important step in trying to understand what the northeastern part of North America truly looked like.

Up in, uh, New England, you’ll see that there’s a very ragged line between Connecticut and Massachusetts that will, in time, be sorted out and straightened out. Vermont appears as does New Hampshire, but we still do not have a formal state. We simply have the “District of Main” – M.A.I.N, no “e,” reflected in the upper right-hand portion of the map. A, uh, softly and attractively colored map, it is.

 

 

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Carta delle Isole Antille

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This map is a map of the Caribbean by an Italian mapmaker named Luigi Rossi. The map is, of course, in Italian and reflects both the, uh, Windward Islands – those are the islands more to the, uh, the west, referred to here as the Isole del Vento (Islands of the Wind) – and along the bottom of the gulf are islands like Curaçao and so on, which are referred to as the Leeward Islands, or in Italian, Isole sotto il Vento (the Islands under the Winds). It’s a nice map with outline color, nicely engraved, and is- makes an effort to identify which nations control which islands through a color code reflected in the upper left-hand corner. The islands owned or controlled by France are one thing, the islands, uh, owned or controlled by the, uh, the English are another, and by- by looking at the, uh, the color coding one can tell one island and its allegiance from another – at least at that time.

 

 

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Geographical and topographical map of the island of Cuba

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These are two highly detailed maps of portions of the island of Cuba, emphasizing the geographical and topographical nature in each section. The mountains, and of course there are very significant mountains throughout Cuba, the mountains are rendered and made quite graphic with a technique known at the time as hachure, h-a-c-h-u-r-e, which with very fine strokes of the engraving pen create a sense of what is up and what is down and the result is quite powerful in showing the elevations – at least relative elevations- of the mountains of the island. All of that has been replaced in modern times by topographic lines, lines of equal height above sea level, but there is a compellingness about this particular technique. One of the maps reflects the Bay of Havana and both the maps are about as complete as could be done by the producing authority here, which was the Office of the Chief of Engineers in the United States of America. So, this was the best depiction that the United States had, and I imagine anybody of the world had of the interior of Cuba as of 1873, the date that the maps were prepared.

 

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North America

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This is a map of North America by a business- cartographic business called Allan Cartography, based in Bedford, Oregon. It is quite recent, within the last twenty years, and benefits from the fact that we’re now able to see the entire continent from space. The map does not have any particular man-made features indicated on it. It’s simply a map showing the native earth that is comprised in the North American continent with gradations of color reflecting those portions that tend to be- to have significant rainfall and therefore are green and those portions which are dry and are therefore depicted as a yellowish-brown. It’s large, very large, and immediately makes a statement, and, I think, gives one a sense of the overall sweep of this magnificent continent that we are privileged, uh, to live on.

 

Low resolution preview for in-copyright image.

Title: North America / map prepared by Allan Cartography, Medford, Oregon, with assistance of Dr. A. Jon Kimerling, Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University

Contributors: Allan Cartography (Firm), Raven Maps & Images, A. Jon Kimerling

Call Number: SMITH IV-16

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Mappa geographica regionem Mexicanum et Floridam

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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– on 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, uh, 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, uh, Cartagena, and, uh, as well as several others. All together, a map that tells several stories and is well worth a close look.

 

 

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Hispaniae Novae sivae magnae, recens et vera descriptio, 1579

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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, uh- in the collection. It basically depicts New Spain, which, um, became Mexico for the most part, but also, uh, pushing up into parts of what is now the United States of America. The, uh, cartouches[1] 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[2] to the whole thing, various sardonic[3] 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, uh, what, uh, 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- of future explorers to seek out those cities and make their riches.

[1] “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.
[2] 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.
[3] Sardonic can be defined as “disdainfully or skeptically humorous” or “derisively mocking.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sardonic Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1935586