Spagnola

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This map is a very early 16th-century rendering of the island of Hispaniola. It’s a little misleading because a discussion of Jamaica appears at the bottom that would continue on to the next page where the map of Jamaica would appear. But this, this, this is Hispaniola, and you’ll see an effort to render a town on the island called Isabella. Bordon was operating with very little information here, and so one can’t, uh, really see very much of the actual outline of the island of Hispaniola, which of course now includes, uh, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, here again was an early, early mapmaker doing his best and creating what is at least a very interesting rendering.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1691613

A map of Pennsylvania exhibiting not only the improved parts of that Province, but also its extensive frontiers

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This very large and wonderful map is a map of Pennsylvania that was made in approximately 1770, uh, before our Declaration of Independence and before our Constitution, but the colony of Pennsylvania was well established at that point, and the surveyor-mapmaker, Scull, in this case, has done an extraordinary job in rendering, uh, the colony in its then-glory. There is so much here that one could spend an hour-and-a-half just pointing to this part or that part, but some of the things that stand out are that it is really a snapshot. It is a freeze-frame of what Pennsylvania looked like at the time. In the lower right-hand corner, in the area where the red patch appears, that’s the, uh, street plan of Philadelphia. One sees all manner of locations, streams, uh, historic spots, uh, etc. And then as one moves more to the center and to the left, not surprisingly, the amount of detail, uh, starts to disappear. In the very left-hand-most part where the, uh, two rivers that form the Ohio come together at what is now Pittsburgh, one sees the, uh, indication that that was the location of Fort Pitt, formerly Fort Duquesne – of course “Duquesne” was the name when the French, uh, dominated that section. Pitt, uh, when the British later took that part over. There’s vast empty spaces on the left-hand side of the map because, to a large degree, colonists, explorers just hadn’t gotten that far, hadn’t gotten to find all the, uh, wonderful detail that one might find today.

Unfortunately, the map of the colony is not complete because we don’t see, uh, Lake Erie in the upper left-hand corner. But, again, if we go back over to the right, up in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, we see reference to the Pocono Mountains. We see, uh, reference to the “Endless Mountains” up toward Wyalusing. There is a reference here to the “Great Swamp.” And, of course, as one goes back down south toward Philadelphia tracing the route of the Delaware River, one gets back into, uh, the part of the world that we are familiar with here in, uh, southeastern Pennsylvania. There is a reference here to Radnor, and, of course, we are here in Radnor Township. There’s a reference to Lower Merion, and, uh, there are a number of historic spots that are picked up by this methodical and wonderful mapmaker. One could spend, literally, hours and hours enjoying all of the many facets that are backed up by Mr. Scull. A wonderful map. An extraordinary map.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1691581

Japanese Mainland

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It’s a map in the middle of the 19th Century – published in 1865 – of the Japanese Mailan—Mainland. Now, on any current map of that part of the world, you will see the several islands of the Japanese archipelago arranged as they actually are, and they are certainly not in a straight line. However, for the purposes of this map, they’ve been made to fit in a straight line; so that the directions that might apply to one portion of the map don’t necessarily apply to another part of the map. From a visual standpoint, it’s gorgeous. It folds up and then folds back out. It’s very delicate. Uh, and to look at it and to try to connect one portion of the mapped area and today’s name for the, uh, city or body of water is a wonderful exercise.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1688784

A chart, shewing the track of the Centurion round the World

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This map reflects the track of a ship, and actually an entire squadron, but the ship was called the Centurion and it was commanded by a Commodore George Anson. This voyage probably goes down as one of the most horrific in the history of exploration and voyaging. Commodore Anson started out with a squadron of seven ships and 1,800 sailors. Three years later when they finally returned to England, fully 90% of those 1,800 had died and there were only approximately 180 crew members left. When the, uh, voyage was undertaken, the British and the Spanish were in the midst of a war, and their ships preyed on one another. Part of Anson’s job was to disrupt Spanish shipping and, perhaps, capture some of the galleons – the ships that carried the great gold and silver hoards that Spain was bringing back to, uh, its country. And Anson had that as one of his goals.

But the track on this map shows is the actual pathway of the Centurion and it’s marvelous for several reasons, one of which is the portion of the track that goes up on the western side of South America, and, if you look closely, you’ll see that that track jiggles a little bit about halfway up the coast, just about where the Juan Fernandez Island is located, and, uh, Anson got close to that island- wanted to get it, but had no way of knowing, in those days, exactly how far east or west he was. Thinking he was in the wrong direction, he headed east and all of a sudden found himself about to bump into the coast of Chile. Realizing his mistake, he turned around and finally found the Juan Fernandez Al- Island, and of course later on, much later on after many adventures, uh, did cross the Pacific and finally returned to England, having captured one of the big prizes, in fact the biggest prize that a British ship had ever found, uh, and was acclaimed a hero on his return back to Great Britain.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1691572

Ins kleine gebrachte karte von den Süd-Lændern : zur Historie der Reisen

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This map is by a, uh, French, uh, cartographer, uh, named Jacques Bellin. Bellin was a great recorder of the oceans and the landmasses and the islands around the world. Uh, his pathbreaking work is still, uh, highly regarded. Bellin was a Frenchman, and one of the subjects, the subject that he took on here, was the continent, or huge island, of Australia. Well, this was in an early day in the middle of the 18th Century. And even as of that date it was not clear whether Australia was separate and apart from the mainland or whether it was connected. In this particular case, the assumption was that it was connected. And one of the reasons that I love this map is that, like so many others in the collection, it shows a best effort at getting the facts straight, but falling short for lack of better information.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1691569

Tabula geographica-hydrographia motus oceani

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This map is a curious and, to some degree, insightful, uh, rendering of how the Earth works. It was prepared by Athanasius Kircher, um, who made it his business to try to understand ocean currents, try to understand, uh, hydrological activity, try to understand volcanic activity. And so, his maps are full of representations and some speculation about how the waters of the world connect to each other, how the volcanoes are arrayed, and so on. Very interested in those features, uh, and some of his theories, which had long underground passageways connecting one body of water with another, um, were interesting in their speculative character – uh, not many of them, uh, proved to be true, but he was at least asking the questions that, uh, later scientists, hydrologists, and oceanographers were to explore.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1691570

Polus Antarcticus

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This is a map, uh, by, uh, Johannes Janssonius of the, uh, Antarctic – “Polus Antarcticus.” This map was published in the first half of the 17th Century. And, again, uh, it reflects how little was actually known about that southernmost part of the planet. Mapmakers had been guessing for years about what might be down there; and there were only glancing blows struck by the earliest explorers. So, what you see on the map are a few hazy lines. One doesn’t know how they connect up. One doesn’t even know if they’re real, but there was a stab at it and that’s what this wonderful map shows. I particularly like the bird in the lower right-hand corner – an artist’s, um, guess, anyway, at what might actually, uh, be located there.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1691558

Map of Europe as queen

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This map is a, uh, creative rendering of the continent of Europe. As you’ll see, it’s been made to look like or conform to the figure of a queen. Uh, it took some work to make all that work out. The Queen’s head is more or less where Spain is, uh, her left shoulder is more or less where France is, her right arm extends down into the water, uh, representing the Italian peninsula. So, Sebastian Munster, the mapmaker, had some fun with this, and as was the case with some other mapmakers engaged in a little bit of, uh, fantasy cartography. This is a good example; she’s, uh, fun to look at.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1691528

Novi orbis pars borealis, America scilicet complectens Floridam, Baccalaon, Canadam, terram Corterialem, Virginiam, Norombecam, pluresque alias provincias

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This is a map entitled “Novi Orbis Pars Borealis America” by a mapmaker by the name of Matthias Quad. It was done in or about, uh, 1600 and was, like so many maps of the day, an effort to understand what the North American continent was all about using very, very limited information. Despite these limits, Quad was working with some important feedback and information from some of the great explorers of the day. They included Jacques Cartier, Sebastian Cabot, Giovanni Verrazano, and Sir Walter Raleigh, among others. The, um, depiction of North America is, of course, very squashed and, to the modern eye, not at all realistic. But it is quite comprehensive, uh, including that portion of the map that is today the United States and that portion of the map which is today Canada, identified almost throughout as “Francia Nova.”

Perhaps the most interesting and curious feature of the map is the long strip of sea that goes from East all the way to West. Here, the mapmaker was speculating. There was a great deal of hope on the part of many in Europe that there would, in fact, be a passageway – a so-called “Northwest Passage” – that would go transversely across the North American continent, providing an opportunity for European ships to reach the Orient directly without having to go all the way down around the bottom of South America and travel up along and across the sometimes-violent Pacific Ocean. So, in this particular case, uh, the wish became the fact, and Quad depicts a Northwest Passage that, in fact, did not exist. I think it’s interesting that in today’s modern times, with, uh, the enhanced ability of ships to traverse the Arctic region, ships are once again imagining regular commercial traffic through the icy waters of the Artic and, perhaps today, there is some version of a Northwest Passage that is actually shaping up.[1] 

[1] “Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine shipping throughout most of the year. Arctic sea ice decline has rendered the waterways more navigable for ice navigation.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage Accessed 24 Mar. 2021.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1935558

Carte du Golphe du Méxique et des isles de l’Amérique

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This map is a map by a French mapmaker by the name of Bellin, b- e -l- l- i- n. This particular map is a map of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean islands entitled Carte du Golphe du Méxique et des isles de l’Amérique. It was done in 1754 and as one can see by looking at it, not all of the land masses are shaped just the way they are today. Florida, for example, looks fairly much like a, uh, rectangular peg, as does the Yucatan peninsula. Nevertheless, Bellin’s work was important work, and he was the Chief of Cartography, of the so-called Depot de La Marine, which was the French cartography service that, uh, was so prominent in the middle of the 18th-century. In fact, it was the work of that group of cartographers, led by Bellin, that gave France much of its world power, because it had, at the time, the best maps that were available to anybody of many if not all of the – many parts, if not all, of the world. This particular map again was made in 1754 is nicely colored, is pleasing to the eye, and gives a snapshot of the way in which the world looked at that time.

 

 

For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1935646