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Maps

With very few exceptions maps were first printed in the second half of the 15th century. Those in the Rudimentum novitiarum published at Lubeck in 1475 are from woodcuts, while the maps in the first two editions of Ptolemy published in Italy in 1472 are from copper plates. Wood engraving kept its ground for a considerable period, especially in Germany, but copper in the end supplanted it, and owing to the beauty and clearness of the maps produced.

Other types of old maps include portolan charts which were mostly made by the Portuguese, Spanish and French and used as practical navigation charts.

A capacity to understand the nature of maps is possessed even by peoples whom we are in the habit of describing as "savages." Wandering tribes naturally enjoy a great advantage in this respect over sedentary ones. Our arctic voyagers—Sir E. W. Parry, Sir J. Ross, Sir F. L. MacClintock and others—have profited from rough maps drawn for them by Eskimos.

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Specimens of such maps are given in C. F. Hall's Life with the Esquimaux (London, 1864). Henry Youle Hind, in his work on the Labrador Peninsula (London, 1863) praises the map which the Montagnais and Nasquapee Indians drew upon bark. Similar essays at map-making are reported in connexion with Australians, Maoris and Polynesians. Tupaya, a Tahitian, who accompanied Captain Cook in the "Endeavour" to Europe, supplied his patron with maps; Raraka drew a map in chalk of the Paumotu archipelago on the deck of Captain Wilkes's vessel; the Marshall islanders, according to Captain Winkler (Marine Rundschau, Oct. 1893) possess maps upon which the bearings of the islands are indicated by small strokes.

Far superior were the maps found among the semi-civilized Mexicans when the Spaniards first discovered and invaded their country. Among them were cadastral plans of villages, maps of the provinces of the empire of the Aztecs, of towns and of the coast. Montezuma presented Cortes with a map, painted on Nequen cloth, of the Gulf coast. Another map did the Conquistador good service on his campaign against Honduras (Lorenzana, Historia de nueva España, Mexico, 1770; W. H. Prescott, History of the Conquest of Mexico, New York, 1843).

Peru, the empire of the Incas, had not only ordinary maps, but also maps in relief, for Pedro Sarmiento da Gamboa (History of the Incas, translated by A. R. Markham, 1907) tells us that the 9th Inca (who died in 1191) ordered such reliefs to be produced of certain localities in a district which he had recently conquered and intended to colonize. These were the first relief maps on record. It is possible that these primitive efforts of American Indians might have been further developed, but the Spanish conquest put a stop to all progress, and for a consecutive history of the map and map-making we must turn to the Old World, and trace this history from Egypt and Babylon, through Greece, to our own age.

Our comprehensive collection of maps is now available below:

Image Name
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 3 - Maestricht (1581)
Voyage Pittoresque et Historique au Bresil Vol. 2 - Planta de Cidade de S. Sebastiao de Rio de Janeiro (1835)
An Historical Atlas - A.D. 1551. At The Death Of Charles V. (1830)
Miller Atlas - Central Atlantic Ocean with the Azores (1519)
A Description of the Sea Coasts in the East Indies - Malaya (1690)
Atlas de Historia fisica y Politica de Chile Vol. 1 - Archipielago de los Chonos No. 2 (1854)
A Description of the Sea Coasts in the East Indies - Xantung, Nanquin (1690)
Mitchell's New General Atlas - Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas (1861)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Dantzigt (1575)
The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain - Anglesey (1676)
An Account of the State of Agriculture & Grazing in New South Wales - Map of Part of New South Wales (1826)
Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains Vol. 1 - Map of the Country Drained by the Mississippi (1823)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 4 - Govda (1588)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [I] (1555)
Mitchell's New General Atlas - [I] Map of New Granada, Venezuela and Guiana [II] Map of Peru and Ecuador [III] Map of the Argentine Confederation (1861)
A Description of the Sea Coasts in the East Indies - Sumatra, Banca [II] (1690)
Atlas Maritimus, or a Book of Charts - A draught of the sands, channels buoyes beacons and sea marks upon the coast of England -- [Inset] The river of Thames from London Bridge to Tilburyhope (1672)
Atlas sive Cosmographicae - Scotia [III] (1595)
The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain - The Bishophrick and Citie of Durham (1676)
A Description of the Sea Coasts in the East Indies - Bengall Bay, Aracam (1690)
Narrative of the Earl of Elgin's Mission Vol. 1 - Map of China (1859)
Atlas National Illustre - Dept. De Corse [Corsica] (1856)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 1 - Byzantivm Nunc Constantinoplis (1572)
Le Costume Ancien et Moderne [Europe] Vol. 2 - Carte Gographique de l'Italie (1820)
Atlas National Illustre - Dept. De La Moselle (1856)
A Narrative of Travels in Northern Africa - Map of a Route through the Regency of Tripoli and Kingdom of Fezzan (1821)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Vesontio Seqvanorvm 1575 (1575)
Vallard Atlas - La Java (1547)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map Showing the South-Western Portion of the Mesozoic Terraces (1882)
Atlas sive Cosmographicae - Palatinatus Rheni (1595)
The Dolomite Mountains - Geological Map of the District of Predazzo, St. Cassian and the Seisser Alp (1864)
Mitchell's New General Atlas - County Map of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Cape Breton and Prince Edwards Island (1861)
The Royal Illustrated Atlas - Southern Ports and Harbours in the United States (1872)
Atlas sive Cosmographicae - Taurica (1595)
Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea - Route of the Expedition from Isle a la Cross to Fort Providence (1823)
Costumes, Moeurs et Usages des Algeriens - Carte de la Regence D'Alger (1837)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 3 - Dordrecht (1581)
Australia Vol. 2 - The Settled Portions of South Australia (1873)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 5 - Caprarola Arx et Horti Farenesiani (1596)
Atlas Pintoresco e Historico De Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos - Reyno de la Nueva Expana a Principios del Siglo XIX (1885)
Atlas sive Cosmographicae - Anglia [II] (1595)
Canada, Painted and Described - Sketch Map of the Dominion of Canada and Newfoundland (1907)
The Royal Illustrated Atlas - Russian Empire in Eastern and Western Asia (1872)
Narrative of the Earl of Elgin's Mission Vol. 2 - Map of the Yang-Tse-Kiang or Ta-Kiang (1859)
The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain - Somersetshire (1676)
Travels in Brazil - Map of the Route (1816)
An Historical Atlas - A.D. 1498. The Discovery Of America. (1830)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 1 - Genva And Florentia (1572)
Notes of Travel in Fiji and New Caledonia - A Map of Fiji and New Caledonia (1880)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 5 - Cadiz Almodraua De Cadiz (1596)
The Expedition of Pedro de Ursua & Lope de Aguirre - A Map Shewing the Track of the Expedition of Pedro de Ursua and Lope de Aguirre AD 1560-61 (1861)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Transilvania (1570)
Map of the British Empire in America - A Map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish Settlements adjacent thereto. by Henry Popple. (1746)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 4 - Eisleben et Tvbingen (1588)
Select Views in India - A Map of Part of Bengal and Bahar (1797)
The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain - The West Ridinge of Yorkeshyre (1676)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 6 - Sanctonicolavm (1617)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 4 - Bolzvardia Stavria Harlinga et Hindelopia (1588)
California: Its Past History; Its Present Position; Its Future Prospects - Map of Western North America (1850)
Voyage d'Exploration en Indo-Chine [Atlas-Vol. 2] - Carte Itineraire No. 2 (1873)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Basilea (1575)
The Panama Canal - Birds-Eye View of the Panama Canal (1913)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct. (1570)
Atlas Maritimus, or a Book of Charts - A Map of New Jarsey (1672)
Atlas National Illustre - Dept. De La Mayenne (1856)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Regni Potentiss (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni (1570)
The Royal Illustrated Atlas - Kingdom of Italy (1872)
The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain - Kent (1676)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 4 - Lippe et Dortmvnd (1588)
Vallard Atlas - Western Europe and northwestern Africa (1547)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 3 - Le Brixa et Settenil (1581)
Taboas Geraes de Toda a Navegação - Chart of the Mouth of the Para, Curupa, and Amazon Rivers (1630)
An Historical Atlas - A.D. 1294. Exhibiting The Empire Of Kublai Khan. (1830)
The Illustrated Atlas - Bradford, Yorkshire (1851)
Gezigten uit Neerland's West-Indien - Generale Verzamelkaart der Nederlandsche Westindische Bezittingen (1860)
The Dead Sea, a New Route to India Vol. 1 - Map of Palestine with Portions of Syria (1855)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Ducatus Mediolanensis (1570)
Algiers: Being a Complete Picture of the Barbary States - Map of Barbary (1817)
The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain - Africae (1676)
The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain - Buckingham (1676)
The Illustrated Atlas - Polynesia, or Islands in the Pacific Ocean (1851)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Map of the Uinkaret Plateau [North Half] (1882)
Atlas de Historia fisica y Politica de Chile Vol. 1 - Provincias de Santiago y de Valparaiso (1854)
The Illustrated Atlas - Belfast (1851)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic map sheets XX-XXIII [Composite] (1882)
Atlas Maritimus, or a Book of Charts - A chart of Gvinea describeing the sea coast from Cape de Verde to Cape Bona Esperanca (1672)
Mitchell's New General Atlas - Map of Asia Showing It's Political Divisions (1861)
Huntington's School Atlas - United States (1836)
Atlas sive Cosmographicae - Europa (1595)
The Royal Illustrated Atlas - British Empire Throughout the World Exhibited in One View (1872)
Taboas Geraes de Toda a Navegação - South Atlantic (1630)
The Royal Illustrated Atlas - South America (1872)
Journal of the Progress of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales - General View of the North Atlantic with Part of the Coasts of Europe and North America (1860)
Svenska expeditionen till Spetsbergen - Karte over Spetsbergen (1865)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 1 - Tingis Lvsitanis Tangiara Tzaffin Septa Arzilla et Sala (1572)
Sights and Scenes in Fair Japan - General Map of the Government Railways in Japan (1910)
Atlas Maritimus, or a Book of Charts - A chart of Flanders between Calis and Walcheren (1672)
Mitchell's New General Atlas - Map of France, Spain and Portugal (1861)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 1 - Neapolis (1572)

References:

1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 17. pg. 633