Religious Cartography and the Cosmological Imagination
In addition to aiding in geographic navigation, scientific observation, and political demarcation, maps serve a narrative, almost novelistic, function. As the eye glides effortlessly over foreign and familiar landforms and across once seemingly boundless seas, the cartographer’s craft is capable of leading the map reader on fantastic imaginary voyages. Allowing one to see far beyond her own, limited scope of vision, panoptic maps depicting cities, nations, and the world itself implicitly entreat the viewer to assume the role of an all-seeing, omnipotent deity. This divine vision is exhibited most explicitly through religious cartography, in which physical features observable by the human eye are but supplemental to the greater cosmological imagination.
Chet Van Duzer
With Savage Pictures Fill their Gaps’: On Cartographers’ Fears of Blank Spaces
Historians of cartography occasionally refer to cartographers’ horror vacui, that is, their fear or hesitancy to leave spaces blank on maps that might be filled with decorations. Some scholars have denied that this impulse was a factor in the design of maps, but the question has never been examined carefully. In this talk I will undertake such an examination, showing that horror vacui was indeed an important factor in the design of maps, at least for some cartographers, from the sixteenth to the early eighteenth century. Some of the factors that motivated cartographers’ concern about empty spaces will also be examined, as will maps by cartographers who evidently did not experience this fear. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries maps began to be thought of as more purely scientific instruments, cartographic decoration declined generally, and cartographers managed to restrain their concern about spaces lacking decoration in the interest of presenting their work as modern and professional.
Multispectral Imaging of Maps: Present and Future
In this talk I will give an account of a recent project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to make multispectral images of a world map made by Henricus Martellus in about 1491, which is held by the Beinecke Library at Yale. This large map has long been thought to be one of the most important of the fifteenth century, but the many texts on the map were illegible due to fading and damage, and thus its exact place in Renaissance cartography was impossible to determine. The new multispectral images have rendered most of the previously illegible texts on the map legible.
I will then have a look to the future of multispectral imaging. I will show why two cartographic objects are great candidates for multispectral imaging, namely Fra Mauro's world map of c. 1455 in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice; and Martin Behaim's globe of 1492 in the Germanische Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. Finally I will look at method called "pan-sharpening" which can be used to sharpen hyperspectral images of maps and manuscripts. This technique has been used in processing satellite images for some years, but its application to images of maps and manuscripts is new.
Cartography and the Narrative of the Anson Circumnavigation (1740-44) from the 18th-20th Centuries
How does cartographic material culture interact with textual representations? Less abstractly, how does the presence of maps, globes, and other geographic objects complement or challenge the narrative of an event? Do the ways cartography is used to tell a story change over time? If so, how? This paper seeks to answer these questions in the context of a specific incident which brought the far side of the world home to Europeans: the Anson circumnavigation of 1740 to 1744. Anson’s voyage, which culminated in the capture of a Spanish treasure galleon, was the first voyage to be continuously updated upon by the periodical press. It influenced inter-imperial politics for the following two decades and fundamentally changed the ways in which Britain and its European rivals conducted long-distance exploration, especially in the Pacific region. While several researchers, most prominently Glyndwr Williams, have studied the rich collection of print materials produced during and after Anson’s voyage, little work has been done on the cartographic material culture which also proliferated.*
Part I of this paper will analyze the maps and charts included in the first editions of the official account. Part II will trace how Anson print culture utilized cartography as Anson’s voyage transitioned from direct memory to historical event to children’s adventure story. Overall, the paper will offer a case study of the ways in which cartography interacted with print culture within British society over time. It also showcases how the world’s largest geographic feature—the Pacific Ocean—evolved from an antipodal unknown to a familiar setting for adventure stories.
*Glyndwr Williams, “George Anson’s Voyage Round the World: the making of a best-seller,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 64, no. 2 (2003): 288-312.
Mapping Global Ambitions: Habsburg Imperial Projects in the Indian Ocean during the Eighteenth Century
In the spring of 1781, the Portuguese Governor of Goa sent a ship from Mumbai to destroy a newly fortified Habsburg settlement in Delagoa Bay, on the eastern coast of Africa. The Portuguese were furious at the Habsburg pretensions to set up a trade outpost in the proximity of the Madagascar island, as part of their ambitious plan to establish trade links with India and China. And even though the Austrian Habsburgs desire for a colonial trans-oceanic empire is today a mere footnote in the historiography of imperialism, things looked differently in the early 1780s. Despite being almost landlocked, the Habsburg Monarchy not only dominated Central Europe, but also took active part in global networks. For example, during the 1720s, the British and the Dutch persistently pursued diplomatic strategies to put an end to Charles VI’s (1711-1740) Ostend Company. This trading initiative was based in the Austrian Netherlands and fostered commercial ties especially with Bengal and China. Although Charles VI’s ambitions proved short-lived, Maria Theresa (1740-1780) and Joseph II (1765-1790) rekindled similar initiatives, from the ports of Ostend and Trieste. The Viennese imperial archives and the Portuguese archives in Goa offer a tantalizing glimpse into the ambitious web of plans that the Habsburgs devised in the context of the Indian Ocean. This talk will bring to the forefront some of the geographic information about the Indian Ocean available to and produced by Habsburg rulers in the eighteenth century, such as maps of the Bay of Bengal from the late 1720s displaying Habsburg factories, the journal of Nicolò Fontana who travelled to India between 1776 and 1781 on the ship Joseph and Theresia and maps from the Oriental Neptune of French mapmaker Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Denis D’Après de Mannevillette. Paying close attention to maps and geographic descriptions will reveal their impact as technologies of knowledge on shaping Habsburg imperial priorities and actions across oceans.
Retracing Colonial Cities:Networks, Surveyors, Geographies, 1670-1770
In 1712, as European diplomats in Utrecht struggled to negotiate the final disagreements between them to end twelve long years of war, The British government tasked James Abercrombie and John Armstrong with an important mission. They would determine Dunkirk’s “condition,” and oversee its “demolition”; its reduction from a mighty naval and mercantile port into a diminutive town, and to learn whatever they could about its secrets. For over a century, Dunkirk had hampered British and Dutch vessels plying the Channel, threatening trade and jeopardizing Britain’s links with the Continent. Barely forty-five miles from Dover, Dunkirk’s extensive, semi-secret system of fortifications and canals, wealthy, privateering population, and vast protected docks, capable of hosting dozens of men-of-war and merchant ships, provided France with the ideal base from which to launch an invasion of Britain. Abercrombie and Armstrong soon focused in on the city’s ingenious system of inland wet-docks, canals, and sluices, installed by Sébastien Le Prestre, the Marquis de Vauban, in the 1670s, to manage the city’s complicated sea level topography and burgeoning trade. Armstrong, in turn, borrowed the concepts practiced at Dunkirk. In the 1720s, he would attempt to replicate it in the Fens in southeast England. albeit only with limited success during his lifetime. His nephew, John, learned from his uncle’s expertise and tried to implement it in Gibraltar and Minorca. Meanwhile, Vauban’s chief deputy at Dunkirk, the talented Benjamin de Combes, took his experiences elsewhere in France and across the Atlantic Ocean, to Martinique.
Cartography reveals how such Atlantic communities as Dunkirk developed as nodes, or connections in transnational, not narrowly national processes. A nominally French city, Dunkirk was actually designed by Dutch and Flemish planners, using largely Dutch methods, to Spanish, English, and French requirements. French, Scottish, and Irish engineers, in turn, borrowed some of its key improvements, and sought to reproduce them in France, England, and elsewhere. This paradigm of borrowing, too, exemplified the experimental, messy, and creative nature of seventeenth and early eighteenth century urban planning. Its multidirectional nature, determined by planners’ journeys and the dissemination of books, maps, and manuscripts, belies the simplistic center-periphery models espoused by some historians of colonial urban studies.
Jesuit Cartography of the Americas: comparative case study of Baja California, Tarahumara and the Amazon
Cartography produced by Jesuits significantly changed over time and did not uniformly follow the same pattern. Jesuit cartography in the lands of the Spanish Crown did not have exactly the same characteristics as it did in the lands of the Portuguese crown. There are also significant specificities between countries within the possession of the same Crown. Jesuit missionaries did not act in the same circumstances everywhere, nor did they have the same support from colonial or local authorities. All this had a significant impact on the content and purpose of Jesuit maps in various countries of America.
Specific features and diversity of Jesuit cartography will be presented through the comparative case study of mapping of Baja California, Tarahumara and the Amazon conducted by three Croatian cartographers: Ferdinand Konščak (1703 – 1759) whose map was ordered by Spanish court and taken as a final prove on pensularity of Baja California, Juan Maria Rattkay (1647-1683) who compiled the first regional map of Tarahumara (now in the Mexican state of Chihuahua) and Ignatius Szentmártonyi (1718-1793) who took part in the compilation of the hydrographic map of the Amazon made for the purpose of demarcation of the Spanish-Portuguese border upon the Treaty of Madrid (1750).
Black Robes and Waterways: French Jesuit Mapmaking in North America
Ançien régime Jesuits in North America were ideally placed for the generation of maps for several reasons. From the early seventeenth century their missionary agenda fueled ongoing exploration across the continent. As Nellis M. Crouse identified nearly a century ago, the order’s activities were fundamental to the increase in New French geographical knowledge; this is born out by the constant accumulation of geographical material in the New France Relations. Moreover, as mapmaking became key for the administration of the growing French empire, the Society of Jesus fulfilled a unique institutional role. The order dominated the teaching of hydrography, for example, in France and Canada alike. Finally, as Luke Clossey has argued, maps offered a unique graphic platform for the proselytization of global missionary values.
The scarcity of extant Jesuit maps of New France is, therefore, perplexing. The entirety of the Relations, for example, includes only two published maps, in the 1664-5 and 1670-71 installments respectively. The few maps that are available, however, offer precise insights into Jesuit mapmaking and the New French experience. I will survey five maps: a map of New France attributed to Francesco Bressani from 1657; the two maps from the New France Relations; a map by Fr. Jacques Marquette of his journey down the Mississippi in 1673 (to be compared with Louis Jolliet’s map of the same subject from 1674); and an unpublished manuscript from around 1695.
I will examine this collection as a peculiar form of evidence for a fragile informational network in formation. The collection displays both a remarkable diversity of styles and singular unity of subject matter—waterways. Jesuit missionaries not only depended on the continent’s vast riverine system for their operations, but they had to tether themselves to other regional networks to make use of it, namely, those of native communities and fur traders. (The Marquette-Jolliet expedition down the Mississippi in 1673 is a perfect case study for this symbiosis, especially given David Buisseret and Carl Kupfer’s recent defense of the authenticity of Marquette’s map.) The absence of religious iconography on our maps is especially striking and suggests a savvy political agenda. The only map with religious illustration was made by Bressani, an Italian. All subsequent (and French) examples are void of even a decorative cross. This is most intriguing on the 1670-1 map: given the sophisticated iconography devoted to the royal crest, one might easily expect a default combination with cross for France’s ‘Most Christian King.’ It is difficult to determine a Jesuit identity, let alone an imperial one, distinct from France. Instead, our maps suggest the many delicate layers involved—from physical transport to political patronage—in building a network for evangelization.
Lineage, State, and Imperial Cartographies: Mapmaking in the Pearl River Delta
In the nineteenth century, the Siyi (Sze Yup) region in the western Pearl River Delta was a turbulent latticework of pirate-infested waterways and fortified towns, marked by interethnic violence, inter-lineage feuding and banditry. In certain respects, the region’s history captures the late-Qing crisis in microcosm – the area experienced intense demographic pressure, incessant violence, and a decline in state capacity. Simultaneously, the region’s status as a major source of migration to Southeast Asia and North America guaranteed that Siyi formed crucial ties to the wider, trans-Pacific world, and boosted local wealth and lineage power through the stream of remittances that flowed back into the region from overseas.
This project seeks to understand one facet of the complex dynamic of competition and collaboration among powerful delta lineages, the local state, and the Qing imperial project by looking at the varied renderings of space in the Pearl River Delta produced by these disparate actors. Powerful lineages sought to mark their territory (and emphasize its various auspicious characteristics) by producing elaborate maps to include in their genealogies; local gentry included detailed maps in the local gazetteers that introduced incoming magistrates to their jurisdiction’s administrative profile; the imperial court in Beijing commissioned enormous and intricate cartographic prestige projects in their imperial atlases, which naturally never failed to include the empire’s wealthiest and most populous regions like the Pearl River Delta. At each level, the cartographic project drew on different intellectual and material resources, and was pursued with very different goals in mind; however, in their spatial sensibilities, the maps produced reveal a number of intriguing continuities and borrowings among these genres.
Charting Cartographic Exchange
In the early-1800s, the question of the Japanese island of Karafuto, the northern island in its amorphous and ill-defined Ezo region, was a vital one for Japanese policymakers. Dispute raged on whether or not it was connected to the continent, and what exactly its relation to the mysterious island of ‘Saghalin’ showing up on European and Chinese maps was. A succession of geographers, astronomers and polemicists produced analyses in support of these positions, engaging in a cross-cultural exercise of comparative mapping in order to discern the truth with regards to Sakhalin’s geography.
New Thoughts on the Scramble for Africa
In the late nineteenth century Europeans raced to claim Africa as their own, from Cairo to the Cape. In 1880 the portion of the continent under European control amounted to just 10%. Two decades later, it was 90%, eventually climbing to more than 96% by 1914. This profound transformation is known as the Scramble for Africa. We know it, to quote Joseph Conrad, as “the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience.” The Scramble’s significance and scope are seen easily in the maps I will examine.
The Scramble and its redefinition of the African landscape were by no means a unitary process. As of the 1880s, Europeans were racing not so much to conquer or take land by force – most of that came later – but rather to forge paper deeds by which whites claimed to buy governing rights from indigenous rulers. Our most careful historians have not forgotten that fact. But what they have overlooked is how the forging of treaties overwhelmingly depended on a controversial proposition. This proposition was that new private companies and individuals, as opposed to pre-existing European states, could and should govern massive territories and millions of people. I want to take a fresh look at Africa between 1880 and 1914, only this time keeping in mind an unfamiliar dichotomy…between public and private governments.
Over a third of African territory -- an area larger than the continental United States -- theoretically lay in the hands of openly for-profit regimes at one interval or another. These regimes included people like the notorious King Leopold II, of course, but also less-known ventures such as the German and British East Africa Companies. How they all came together with broad European approval is not immediately apparent; indeed, no historian has ever been able to explain it. The truth is, though, that the process was a major problem not just for Africa, but for the territorial and legal order of the international system. This history goes beyond our traditional narrative of imperial rivalries and encourages us to rethink what was happening at the time.
Medical Topography: Mapping Cholera in the Nineteenth Century
John Snow’s map of the Broad Street cholera outbreak is a common reference point among historians of cartography. Snow is often recognized as the father of epidemiology and is praised for his use of cartography to demonstrate a causal correlation between contaminated water and cholera. Snow, however, was not the first to use thematic maps of disease incidence and environmental factors to investigate the cause of disease. In 1798, the physician Valentine Seaman mapped yellow fever fatalities and unsanitary sites in New York City, the earliest known example of medical cartography. When cholera reached Europe in the 1830s, the field then known as “medical topography” burgeoned. In the town of Oxford, disease maps were produced in response to the cholera outbreaks of 1832, 1849, and 1854, fueled by the growing interest in mapping social statistics. These early disease maps presented public health statistics in novel ways and warrant attention for their role in the evolution of medical cartography. While the cholera maps of Oxford reached scientifically inaccurate conclusions about disease transmission due to their authors’ miasmatic beliefs, they were carried out with great scientific rigor for their time, aided the portrayal of disease as a remediable public health issue, and prompted debate over localist and contagionist theories of the nature of cholera. Here, I investigate two maps of cholera outbreaks in Oxford, William P. Ormerod's "Plan of Oxford shewing the parts visited by Cholera and Fever" and Henry W. Acland's " Map of Oxford to illustrate Dr. Acland’s Report on Cholera in Oxford in 1854 showing the localities in which Cholera and Choleraic Diarrhoea occurred in 1854 and cholera in 1832 and 1849.” Using pamphlets, newspaper articles, and proceedings from the Ashmolean Society and Oxford’s Public Health Board, I investigate the intended purposes of these maps and the responses to these maps. I show that the Oxford cholera maps were well received by both the public and academics, and that they were used to argue for improved sanitation and water supply systems. Analysis of the Oxford maps suggests that medical cartography was used as a tool to test hypotheses about disease transmission, as well as a communication medium to argue for medical theories and initiate conversation on public health issues. These maps provide important insight into the role of thematic cartography in advancing medical science and in shaping popular perceptions of disease.
From the London subway to D’Anville’s South America map: different knowledges in cartography
The objective of this presentation is to discuss some theoretical propositions that are points of start to those who venture to choose the maps as a documentary source of study, like:
A map is not a faithful portrayal of the territory that it represents, and recognize this don’t make it necessarily true or false, useful or useless. Represent any region imposes a series of choices on what and how the space can be drawn and what should be inserted or erased on the maps, choices that result in distortions, additions, and omissions. We can argue that different maps can represent the same space without it being necessary to choose one as true and the other false, even when one of them does not keep a geometrically exact correspondence with the territory it represents.
Here is a warning to those who choose maps as object of study: Maps are never wrong!
Maps are produced according to several criteria, and one often is the satisfaction of its users, that is, they take much more into account the purposes for which they are intended than the territory they represent. In order for a map to be used and thus fully understood, its producer and its consumer must share a set of common signs, and the larger the sharing, the greater the apprehension of the set of information that a map contains, many self evident, others not so much.
Many times, what is represented on a map is made intentionally, consciously, but others appear there without the author's realizing it. The contemporary scholar who want to study them can only understand its meaning taking back the map to the past, to the time in which it was produced. Therefore, it is fundamental to know and analyze the historical context of production, circulation and consumption of a map and it is when the historian's work begins.
Much more commonly than is usually thought, were and still are the maps that tend to anticipate the territories, not the reverse. In this case, it becomes a powerful political weapon of negotiation territories, giving to see the space not as the same presents itself, but as its producers considered that it should be constituted.
There is not a single, a universal or an immutable cartographic language. Maps are like a text and each has its own language, which are specific to the time and space of its production. On a map, nothing is there by chance and the use, for example, of distinct colors to represent divisions of the territory was not treated, nor is it a random or even neutral technique.
Mapping for History: How British Battle Maps Shaped the Historical Narrative of the Palestine Campaign
During the Third Battle of Gaza in late 1917, the British Army’s 7th Field Survey Company (FSC) produced a series of innovative “operation maps” to help British commanders command and control their advancing forces. The 7th FSC mapmakers, working with officers on the army staff, published a new operation map every day for nearly six weeks, on which they indicated their assessment of the locations of the opposing Turkish and British forces. These maps often represented a reasonably accurate summary of the opposing armies’ deployments, but several editions demonstrated important omissions, inaccuracies, and even fabrications as the mapmakers attempted to make sense of an increasingly chaotic battlefield while also navigating the power structures of the army’s headquarters. Interestingly, the form of the printed maps changed in the later stages of the battle when the 7th FSC cartographers began printing new maps on much smaller sheets than the earlier editions.
This change in the operation maps’ form signaled a concurrent shift in their function. It coincided with the British Army’s seizure of Jerusalem from the Turks and indicated a desire by the British staff to tell the army’s story to the home front. Thus a set of the 3rd Battle of Gaza operation maps, including copies of the earlier, larger editions which had been reprinted in the new format, travelled from Palestine to London, where they quickly began to shape the narrative of the Palestine campaign, inaccuracies and all. This paper examines the enduring influence of the 7th FSC operation maps on the historiography of the Palestine campaign by exploring how these maps have been reproduced and reinterpreted over the past century.