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 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 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 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 softly and attractively colored map, it is.
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 Windward Islands – those are the islands more to 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 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 owned or controlled by the English are another, and by looking at the color coding one can tell one island and its allegiance from another – at least at that time.
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, 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.
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.
I’m going to discuss two maps together. These maps are a curious graphic, which doesn’t represent any clear geography, but does represent an amalgam of some of the principal features to be found around the world, whether those features were lakes, rivers, mountains, or the like. And what is kind of nice about them is that they bring all the largest mountains together, for example, and you can see visually which are the tallest and which are the almost-tallest, and so on. So it’s a nice comparative graphic, one that gives you some appreciation of how the various features of the world relate to one another.
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. And to look at it and to try to connect one portion of the mapped area and today’s name for the city or body of water is a wonderful exercise.
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.