7/12/2012

Maps, Maps, Early Maps,

Some of you may have bought the Icon Magazine issue 109 on maps. The magazine visited two important groups of radical geographers based on the west coast of America: Stamen and The Center for Land Use Interpretation.

Suggested interview and article: Paul Smith | Interview: Mike Migurski | 2012
Samuel Medina | An Online Map You'll Actually Want to Look At | The Atlantic Cities, March 23, 2012. Originally: Architizer

Suggested interview: Matthew P Carson | The Center for Land Use Interpretation - Interview with Matt Coolidge | International Center of Photography

This issue was a great occasion to unveil one of my passions: Maps. Indeed, I have been fascinated (if not obsessed) by maps for years (since I am 7 years old). In particularly Maps' graphic design. 
A website that many of you may already know — Rare Maps, also known as Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc. — provides early maps, from The Renaissance to the Modern era (19th century). If you are a collector…

German map-maker Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was considered one of the most important map-makers in the Age of Exploration. In this era, maps played a particular important role to document explorers' observations.
Data compelling were mostly based on available literary sources and travel. In the case of Sebastian Münster: available literary sources; original manuscript material for description of the countryside and of villages and towns; and travel (mostly Germany, Central Europe).
Technique adopted for this map was woodcut.
Based on an anthropocentric approach to mapping, precisely on explorers' observation, inserts such as the representation of Amerindians as 'Cannibals' in the South America are also included.
Sebastian Munster: Novae Insulae XXVI Nova Tabula. The first map of the continent
of America, 1552.
Originally appeared on Rare Maps
> A hand coloured depiction of the Americas in the Renaissance mapped by Basel-based
Sebastian Münster. Little information were known on America. Based upon an anthropocentric mode of mapping, note the inclusion of illustration of
Amerindians represented as cannibals in the South America (insert of a human leg).
This Novae Insulae XXVI Nova Tabula is dated of 1552. It represents Europe's discoveries of America.
This is the first map of the continent of America, named in Old German Die Nüw Welt (Die Neue Welt, The New World in English).
Map of Asia and Americas, Sebastian Münster, 1588
Originally appeared on University of Columbia
> Münster used mathematics to improve map-making techniques.

According to Rare Maps, while this map first appeared in Sebastian Münster's Geographia, published in 1540, it nonetheless was the 1544 edition of Münster's Cosmographia (Cosmographiae Universalis in Latin) that made America the name of the New World. Cosmographia was the first German description of the World. The book was released in thirty-five editions with versions in French, Latin, Italian, English and Czech.
Map of the Americas, Sebastian Münster, 1553
Originally appeared on University of Columbia
>  According to Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, Münster included Americasas part of Asia in a world with three, rather than four, parts

This Cosmographia consisted of six books. The America was part of the libri V (book V). These included Asia Minor, Cyprus, Armenia, Palestine, Arabia, Persia, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Scythia, Tartary, India, Ceylon, Burma, China, East Indies, Madagascar, Zanzibar.
The map contains errors based on Girolamo (da) Verrazzano's expedition.

Munster's map is the earliest map of all of America and the first to name the Pacific Ocean (Mare Pacificum). The depiction of North America is dominated by one of the most dramatic geographic misconceptions to be found on early maps — the so-called Sea of Verrazzano. The Pacific cuts deeply intov into North America so that the part of the coastline at this point is a narrow isthmus between two oceans. This was the result of Verrazzano mistaking the waters to the west of the Outer Bans, the long barrier islands along North Carolina as the Pacific. The division of the New World between Spain and Portugal is recognized on the map of the Castille and Leon flag planted in Puerto Rico, here called sciana.
Girolamo Verrazzano — young brother of explorer Giovanni (da) Verrazzano — himself confessed the 8th of July, 1524:

In XXV more days we sailed more than 400 leagues where there appeared to us a new land never before seen by anyone, ancient or modern. At first it appeared rather low; having approached to within a quarter of a league, we perceived it, by the great fires built on the shore by the sea, to be inhabited. We saw that it ran toward the south… We had seen many people who came to the shore of the sea and seeing us approach fled, sometimes halting, turning back, looking with great admiration… marveling at our clothes, figures and whiteness… [their] eyes [are] black and large, the glance intent and quick. They are not of much strength, in craftiness acute, agile and the greatest runners. from what we were able to learn by experience, they resemble in the last two respects the Orientals, and mostly those of the farthest Sinarian regions… We think that partaking of the Orient on account of the Surroundings, [local plants] are not without some medical property or aromatic liquor…

As mentioned in Cosmography, Sebastian Münster's mid-Atlantic coast of North America was represented as a narrow isthmus which led to the offset of the Northeast and a huge sea in Canada. The isthmus was found, Girolamo Verrazzano said:

[A] mile in width and about 200 long, in which, from the ship, was seen the oriental sea between the west and north. Which is the one, without doubt, which goes about the extremity of India, China and Cathay. We navigated along the said isthmus with the continual hope of finding some strait or true promontory at which the land would end toward the north in order to be able to penetrate to those blessed shores of Cathay


As Cosmography wrote, this isthmus was in fact the Outer Banks between Capes Lookout and Henry and his Oriental Seas was the Pamlico and Albermarle Sounds.

This map of the Americas also includes inserts such as elevation profiles, green features, place names, according to the Age of Exploration tradition. Note also the presence of a ship (The Victoria) on the Pacific sea. The map also shows 'India Superior' and Cathay coastlines, early representation of the Straits of Magellan, the Yucatan Peninsula as an Island, Cuba, Hispanolia (Dominican Republic and Haiti), Spain, and Africa. Place names are Terra Florida, Francisca (Canada), Hispania.
As mentioned by Rare Maps, it also shows the representation of the division of America between Spain and Portugal. Landmass in the South might be one of first representations of Antarctica.
In the 1553 version, continents are represented with colors: Francisca, South America, Cuba, a small landmass in the east (Spain) and India and Cathay are in pink, North America as well as a landmass in the south of South America (which may be Antarctica) in yellow and Central America and a landmass in the east (Africa) in green.
According to Map Forum, the Cosmographia was in the illustrative tradition of the hartmann Schgedel's Nüremberg Chronicle. This map of The Americas is one of my favourite in this period of Exploration (15th and 16th centuries)
Plan Routier de la Ville et Faubourgs de Paris | Jean Lattre, 1792
Originally appeared on Rare Maps
My second favourite map is the Plan Routier de la Ville et Faubourgs de Paris designed by Parisian Jean Lattre (fl. 1743-1793). Jean Lattre was a bookseller, engraver and map publisher. He worked with European cartographers such as William Faden and Italian cartographer Santini. This road map shows the organization of roads within Paris and distinction between buildings in pink, green features in green. L'Observatoire de Paris-Meudon (Paris Observatory), hospitals, Palais Royal are represented in red. Naming streets, cul-de-sac, churches, bridges, green features are highly detailed. A cartouche with streets, buildings and their functions (hospitals, churchs, colleges, communities of males and 'girls' (in French: Hommes for males, and filles for girls. I voluntarily opted for the translation of 'hommes' into 'male' and 'filles' into 'girls' after the original legend). New streets (nouvelles rues) are also included such as Rue Amelot, and Rue Guyot.
As, until the 1920s, Paris covered an area of 78 sq. km (30 sq. mi), Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes are excluded in this map. They were annexed in 1929 to bring Paris area to the present 105 sq. km (41sq km).
According to Rare Maps, this map is part of a composite atlas assembled by Jean Lattre.

And, collectors, these maps can be collected, unsurprisingly, at a very expensive price…


Source: Rare Maps, University of Columbia, Map Forum, Cosmography, Geographicus

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