This is a map depicting the linguistic stocks of American Indians north of Mexico. It is based on the exploration and work of a famous explorer of the 19th Century, John Wesley Powell, who had many explorations, of course, particularly in the west, and this map is some record of where the several Indians were located in the North American continent before some, unfortunately, were probably already being pushed to one side by the arrival of the colonists and the expansion that was going on already in the early 19th Century. But you see the areas that were occupied by people speaking a language called Muskhogeon, then there is Iroquoian – the great Iroquois Nation, of course, both in the Mid-Atlantic area and also up in the Pennsylvania, New York, and Great Lakes vicinity. And off to the west are still more smaller areas reflecting what was spoken in those areas as well. This map, therefore, tells a story. It tells a story of who were the peoples, the Indigenous peoples of the Americas in the early-to-mid 1800s.
This map is a map by Münster from the first half of the 16th century. It reflects basically the Middle East – that part of the world which is so turbulent and so fraught with conflict today. In the upper left-hand corner, one sees Cyprus and the eastern part of the Mediterranean. And then moving ashore, you can see where Palestine is, Samaria, Galilee, on up through what we think of today as Israel and the Holy Land, continuing on over to Syria. Moving further to the right we enter the Arabian Peninsula, and there are some of the tents that were characteristic of the day. On over to the right-hand most side, are the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and Mesopotamia, referred to here as “Babylonia,” which, of course, was roughly where the famous mythical city of Babylon was located.
This woodcut was in a style that follows what is known as the Ptolemaic way of portraying maps. Claudius Ptolemy was a geographer in the Second Century of the Common Era operating out of Alexandria in Egypt. And, in his day, not much was known about the whole world, but he made it his business to know a great deal about the then-known world and included what were then very rough longitude and latitude markings. In any event, maps made from his geographic pinpoints – his longitudes and latitudes – were the best maps of the then-period of time and, for a thousand years more, continue to be the best maps – or at least the model of maps. So what we have here is a map that was made in the 16th Century, but follows the style and the locations of many of the points of the area that were devised by a 2nd Century Greek.
This is a map by Guillaume de L’Isle, a famous French cartographer, reflecting most of the Windward Islands, that is the islands of the Caribbean that front the Atlantic Ocean. Most of these islands were, at the time the map was prepared in the early 1700s, were possessions or controlled by France and therefore they are gathered together as a group of the French Antilles. The map being designated Carte des Antilles Françoises et des isles voisines, and the neighboring Isles. Off to the right, we see Barbados, which is an English possession, but virtually all of the others – Martinique, St Lucie, St Vincent, et cetera – are most all of them French at the time. So it’s a single-purpose map, but a nice depiction and a very nice compass rose, and lots of detail for all of those French islands.
This map is a marvelous effort to capture what the whole world looked like. It is after the much larger and very famous map by Gerard Mercator, and among its many wonderful features are its effort, again, to portray what the New World looks like. It had been known for roughly seventy years, but the explorers of the world were still trying to make sense of it. You’ll see at the very very bottom, a large continuous landmass that seems to go on forever. It’s one of the many terras incognitae that you will find on older maps, and that large landmass was posited by mapmakers, in part, because there was so much landmass on the northern side of the equator and there was at least some theorizing that without a large landmass on the bottom, the globe was in danger of tipping over, so it was speculated that, of course there had to be a large landmass – and there it is, whether it really is- existed or not. Another interesting feature of this map is the medallion showing Jesus in the upper left-hand corner. Some people think that this medallion was placed there strategically because, while there was a hope there would be a Northwest Passage above and around the North American continent, they weren’t quite sure. And so at least one theory here is that Jesus and his medallion were strategically put at that location, so the mapmaker did not have to make a definitive choice.
 See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_1569_world_map Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.
 “When Roman mapmakers drew a land area that no one had yet explored, they often labeled it “Terra Incognita”—that is, “Unknown Territory”—and the term continued to be used for centuries afterward.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terra%20incognita Accessed 30 Mar. 2021.
This is a map by Tobias Lotter. Lotter created this map in about 1760 and it depicts virtually all of North America and the Caribbean. However, one of its most distinguishing features is that there is all blank space above what is called “Nova Mexico” and west of what is called “Canada” or “Nova Francia.” So, in this particular case, Lotter decided not to speculate and consciously simply left the upper left-hand portion of the map un-filled in altogether. Like so many of the maps of the period, it has a glorious cartouche in the upper left-hand corner, and Lotter pays due respect, something that mapmakers never- or frequently failed to do, to a mapmaker by the name of De L’Isle, whose geographic work, cartographic work, preceded that of Lotter, and Lotter clearly made considerable use of it.
 “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.