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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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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Theodor De Bry’s Grand Voyages

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These are four examples of the engravings of Theodoros de Bry. De Bry never actually visited the Americas himself, but based on the accounts that he heard back from the New World, he did a series of engravings – uh, very powerful engravings – that are illustrated here. He depicts in several of these violence between Indian and Indian, violence between Indian and invading Spaniards, the navigation up a small bay of explorers, and, in still another, a particularly violent episode between the slave masters of the day, the- the conquering Spanish, and the Indians, who were enslaved and, uh, made to, uh, to work in horrible conditions. The larger story frequently told by de Bry, and certainly told by three of the four of these prints, is man’s inhumanity to man.

One of the pictures which is particularly interesting shows the Spanish invaders attempting to embattle the Indians who are defending themselves in a variety of manners. At the very center of the picture there is a group of Indians shown up in a stylized tree, pouring some substance – water, oil, who knows what – down upon the attacking conquistadors, who are holding up a large piece of wood to trying to fend it off. Meanwhile other Spaniards are firing rifles up at the tree – you can see the plumes of smoke at the end of their barrels – and an effort has been made, so far unsuccessful, to chop the tree down and to overcome the, uh, resistance accordingly. Needless to say, this is a hyper-stylized account of the conflict between the invading conquistadors and the native peoples, but it succeeds, I think, in depicting and making graphic for the modern eye just how brutal that period was.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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Carte de la Louisiane et du cours du Mississipi

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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, uh, 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, uh, 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.

 

 

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Dominia Anglorum in America Septentrionali

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This map is actually four maps. It’s, uh, 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- 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, uh, so many maps, 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.

 

 

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Pictorial map of the American continent

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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[1], 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, uh, would be a wonderful and entertaining thing to do. It was a day, of course, when the great oil companies and, uh, 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, uh, 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.

[1] “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.

 

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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

Call Number: SMITH IV-10

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