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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Theodor De Bry’s Grand Voyages


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North America


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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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Pictorial map of the American continent


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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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