Maps, Their Makers and the Impact on the Development of the World (11 weeks)
F 2018


  Before the end of the 19th Century the exploration and development of the world depended in significant part on the ability of countries and civilizations to develop what they believed were accurate and convincing maps.  This SDG will review and discuss approximately sixty of the most important maps prepared by and often purloined from the most important cartographers in the world.  Each SDG will discuss the map, its maker(s), the era and the reasons maps were created.  Some maps had a significant impact upon the world during that era in terms of global trade, colonization and the settlement of geo-political boundaries. Other maps were created to curry favor of their sponsors, rulers or the Church. For some maps, the Church and State provided an influence, often negative, upon the mapmakers and their craft. Our discussion will review how astronomy, mathematics, science and information supplied by that era’s explorers and navigators impacted map development. Mapmakers became the technology leaders of their era, opening new vistas and opportunities for their sponsors and users.  Copies of all maps not in the core books will be provided by the Class Coordinator. 

Weekly Topics

         SDG:   Maps, Their Makers and the Impact on the Development of the World

               Specific Discussion Maps and Topics Included in Presenter(s) Outlines

 Week 1 – Early Maps, Map Materials, Predecessors to Ptolemy – Eratosthenes, Strabo, Aristotle and other Muslim, Greek and Roman geographers and thinkers.

1.         Types of Maps

2.         Materials Used to make maps

3.         Early maps

4.         Juxtaposition of maps

5.         Early scientific maps

6.         Early non-scientific maps

7.         Reasons why early maps were created

 Babylonia World Map (750 BC)

 Ptolemy’s World Map (150) 

 The Book of Curiosities (1020-50)

 Entertainment for He Who Longs to Travel the World, al-Sharif al-Idrisi (1154)

 Peutinger Map of Roman Map (300)

(Konrad Peutinger)

 Week 2 – Medieval Maps and Religious-based maps

1.         Christian Influence on map-making but not all map-makers are Christian

2.         15th Century evidencing a departure from Christian belief

3.         Portolan charts and maps – used for navigation

4.         Instruments which were developed and accompanied portolan maps such as the following navigation aids: (Magnetic compass, quadrants, astrolabe, cross staffs, plane table, triangulators, etc.)

 Sawley Map – Picture of the World (1200)

 Hereford Mappa Mundie (1300)

 Catalan Atlas (1375) (Abraham Cresques)

 Fra Mauro’s World Map (1450)

 Carte Pisane (1275-1300)

 T-O Mappaemundi (1472)

 Week 3 – Maps Affecting Asia’s and  China’s View of the World outside the Middle Kingdom and the World’s view of Asia

1. The Silk Road 

2. Song Dynasty – Early accuracy in Chinese map-making; contributions of the Chinese to navigation

3. Ming Dynasty – Voyages of Zheng He and China’s naval prowess

4. Ming Dynasty – Attempts to Christianize the Chinese

5. Other Asian countries contributions

6. Qing Dynasty

7. Travels of Marco Polo – fiction or non fiction?  Routes taken


Dunhuang Star Chart (649-684, Tang Dynasty) (Li Chungfeng)

Map of the Tracks of Yu (1136)

The Kangnido map (1402)

Tartaria Sive Magni Chami Regni (1570) (Ortelias)

Nautical Chart (1628) (Zheng He voyages Ming Dynasty)

Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the Earth (1602) (Matteo Ricci, Li Zhizao, Zhang Wentao)

Tianxi Quantu Map by Huang Qianren

(Cir. 1767) (Qing Dynasty)

 Week 4 – Maps of the New World

     1. Treaty of Tordesillas

     2. Naming of America

     3.        Closing of Silk Road by Ottomans

     4. Voyages of Columbus, Diaz, and Vasco daGama prompting routes to Asia

     5.       Sea Charts

     6.       16th Century Mapmaker rock stars   performing for the Moluccas; Treaty of Saragossa

      7.     The Columbian Exchange


Fra Mauro’s World Map (1450)

Portolan Chart (1424)

Juan de la Cosa’s World Chart (1500) 

First Map of America (1507)

(Martin Waldseemuller)

Piri Re’is Map (1513)

 Week 5 –Spanish/Portuguese Exploration

1. Voyages of Magellan and other Spanish and Portuguese explorers which changed the face of maps thereafter

2. The mining of Silver in South America and Mexico -- shipments to Asia and Europe 

3. Trade routes and trade winds discovered by the Spanish to Asia from the Americas

4. Ship and maps for these routes; ship technology

5. Other Spanish explorers after Columbus’ voyages

6. Spanish/Portuguese Peace Pact and the implications to others trading in China.

7. Iconography and images in maps


Magellan Circumnavigation (circa 1525)

(Diego Ribero Padron)

Diego Robero Universal Chart (1529)

Aztec Map of Tenochtitlan (1542)

The Cortes Map (1524) Hernan Cortes

Week 6 – Scientific and Mathematical Influences on Mapmaking

1. Mercator, Ortelius, Hondus

2. Religious vs. scientific approaches

3. Dealing with the curvature of the Earth

4. Cosmography

5. Influence by scientists – Nicolaus Copernicus and Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler

Week 7 – Maps to support global trading by the Netherlands for the Dutch East India Company.  
1. Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (“VOC”). Creation and influence of the Dutch East India Company
2. The Blaeu Family
3. Further Mapmaking as modern business through acquisitions
4. Influence on art/Wall Maps
5. VOC secret atlases

A New and Enlarged Description of the Earth (1569) (Gerard Mercator)

Typus Orbis Terrarum (Map of the Word) by Abraham Ortelius (1570)

Jodocus Hondius,  Christian Knight Map (Typus Totius Orbis Terrarium, In Quo, circa 1596)

Globe Gores – Double-Hemisphere World Map by Antonio Florian (1555)


Petrus Plancius (Orbis Terrarum Typus de Intro Multis in Locus Emendatus) (1594)

New Map of the Whole World (1648)

(Joan Blaeu)

The Molucca Islands (1594)

(Petrus Plancius)

Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis, 

(1606) Willem Blaeu 

 Week 8 – Maps described and used in response by British in catching up with Dutch and Portuguese global trade.

1.         Legitimizing piracy – Sir Francis Drake

2.         John Harrison’s chronograph in response to the Longitude Act of 1714

3.         British East India Company 

4.         England’s colonization of India; Hudson Bay Company, 1715 Treaty of Utrecht; Joint Stock Companies

5.         Role of Lloyd’s of London

6.         The voyages of Captain James Cook and Captain William Bligh.

7.         The Spanish Armada

 Map of the Queen’s Pirate, Double-Hemisphere World Map entitled, Vera Totius Expeditionis Nauticae Descriptio by Jodocus Hondius (1595-96)

John Seller’s Maritime Atlas (1670)

Maps of William Baffin and Sir Thomas Roe (Mani Mogolis Imperium)

Chart of the Society Islands, 1769 (James Cook)

Capt. William Bligh’s chart of his open-boat journey from HMAV Bounty (1789)

See also, A Map of the British colonies in North America, (John Mitchell, 1755)

 Maps of the Battles of the Spanish Amada


Week 9 – Maps of North America.

1.         Early views of the North America

2.         Mapping the Colonies

3.         Influencing the boundaries of the New Colonies after the Revolutionary War

4.         Exploration of the Northwest



Jansen Map of North America (1664)

 Map of New England (1677) (John Foster)

 A Map of the British Colonies in North America (1755) (John Mitchell)

Survey of the North Pacific (circa 1776)

(James Cook and Henry Roberts)

 Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1803-06

Week 10 – Maps that supported the colonization of Africa

1.         Early view of Africa – How it was imagined

2.         European colonialization of Africa

3.         European slave trading


 Jodocus Hondius Maps of West Africa (1606)

 Willem Blaeu’s Ornamental Africa (1630-1662)

 Dr. Livingstone’s Map of Africa (1873)

(David Livingston)

van Keulen sea chart of the Gold Coast of Guinea (1680)

Pieter Goos "navigational chart of the West Indies", ca 1660

Week 11 – California Here We Come and Other Important Maps – English and Spanish Explorer Maps

1. Cartographers information about the New World

2. English and Spanish voyages and expeditions affecting the contours of North and South America 

3. Maps which shaped and developed California

4. Is California really an island?


 Early Portolan Maps showing California (1557-78)

 Maris Pacifici by Abraham Ortelius (1589)

 North America by Johannes Jansson (1640)

 America by Jodocus Hondius (1606)

 Antique map of America by Nicolaas Visscher (1656)

 Tabula California by Eusebio Francisco Kino (1702)




 About Maps and Their Makers

Core Books: 

Smithsonian – Great Maps, J. Brotton, DK Publishing (New York, New York) 2014. (“Smithsonian”)

A History of the World in 12 Maps, J. Brotton, Viking (New York, New York) 2012. (“Brotton or History 12 Maps”)

Recommended Map Treatises:

Collecting Antique Maps, J. Potter (1988). Jonathan Potter, Ltd (London) (“Collecting”)

Landmarks of Mapmaking, An Illustrated History of Maps and Mapmaking, R. V. Tooley and C. Bricker, Dorset Press (New York, New York) (“Landmarks”)

Mapping the Silk Road and Beyond – 2,000 Years of Exploring the East, K. Nebenzahl, Phaidon Press Limited (London) (“Mapping the Silk Road”)

Mapping the World – The Story of Cartography, Riffenburgh, B., Andre Deutsch Limited (London) 2014 (“Mapping the World”) 

Mapping the World – An Illustrated History of Cartography, Ehrenberg, Rapher, National Geographic Society 2005 (“Nat’l Geo”)

The Golden Age of Maritime Maps, When Europe Discovered the World, National Library of France, Firefly Books (U.S.) 2012. (“Golden Age”)


About World Events


Concise History of the World – An Illustrated Time Line, Kagan N. (Editor) National Geographic (Washington, D.C.) 2013 (“Concise”)

History – The Definitive Visual Guide -- From the Dawn of Civilization to the Present Day, D. K. Publishing (New York, New York) 2007 (“DK History”)

The Times Complete History of the World, 9th Ed., Overy, R. (Editor) Times Books (London) 2015 (“London Times”)


Longitude, Sobel, D.Walker Publishing Company, Inc. 1995 (New York, New York)