Cartographica Extraordinaire: The Historical Map Transformed
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The historical map transformed
Exploring a new world
The famous Cook—killed by native Hawaiians—and the forgotten la Pérouse—lost at sea—voyage across the Paciﬁc and confront the western limits of new continents, mapping nooks and crannies of shoreline from Alaska to Chile.
Venturing into the interior
Alexander von Humboldt begins to map New Spain and generously shares his work with Thomas Jefferson, who has recently made the Louisiana Purchase and is eager to ﬁnd out what he bought, dispatching Zebulon Pike north up the Mississippi and Meriwether Lewis and William Clark west on the Missouri.
Drawing patterns on the land
The Age of the Surveyor reaches a zenith, as trigonometry, rods and chains, and benchmarks replace canoes and ocean-going vessels. The wilderness is commodiﬁed, and as the value of land increases,so does the precision of its description and mapping.
Showing the shape of the land
Cartographers strive to bring a “fuller volume of reality ” and a third dimension to the ﬂat surface of a paper map with oblique perspectives, or bird ’s eye views, topography, color lithography, and the theodolite.
Connecting place to place
Millennia-old equations of time and distance are revolutionized by the telegraph, the Erie Canal,steam power, and a transcontinental railroad, transforming maps from descriptions of areas and surface features to renderings of increasingly complex webs of connection.
Settling into the city
The ﬁrst great cities of the continent appear in the most likely and unlikely places, from a quiet cove in a balmy bay to a malarial swamp, from the subzero wastes of the Gaspé Peninsula to an arid basin ringed by mountains, each defying its planners’ most rigorous schemes and growing according to the lay of the land, the ﬂow of commerce, and the tides of history.
Afterword: The brick, the mortar, the pixel
Chronological image bibliography