History Archive - Random Box Icon History Archive - Regions Icon History Archive - Topics Icon History Archive - Images Icon History Archive - Maps Icon History Archive - Books Icon


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.

History Archive - Map Room
History Archive - Globe

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.

History Archive - Piri Reis Map

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.

Map Name
Ivtetia Vulgari Nomina Paris
Europe and Northern Africa
The Kingdome of Irland
British Possessions in the Indian Seas
Colding Schloss Vnd Stat
Carte Generale de l'Indo-Chine
United States
Dept. Du Lot
Dept. De L'Oise
Track Chart of H.M.S Galatea 1867-1868
Galliae Narbonensis / Sabaundiae et Burgundiae
[I] Ireland in Provinces [II] Counties County Map of Scotland
Part of the Coast of Malabar, Ceiloan
Provincia de Coquimbo
Part of South Australia
Newcastle on Tyne
Spain and Portugal
Chart of the World Shewing the Track of the Neva
Carte de Yucatan, dressee par M. de Waldeck
Marchena et Orchvna
Berga Or Bergen Op Zoom
Hibernia [III]
Geological Map of the Western Part of Plateau Province
Hvsemvm Dvcatcs Slesvicensis Ad Sinvm Heveram Opp et Haderslebia
Venezuela, New Granada, Equador, and the Guayanas
Sunda Straghts, Java
Holy Iland, Garnsey, Farne and Iarsey
Wallachia, Servia, Bulgaria, Romania
Tingis Lvsitanis Tangiara Tzaffin Septa Arzilla et Sala
Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche
Civitas Exoniae Vulgo Excester
Java [II]
A New Map of East India
Chart of the Mediterranean Sea
Premiere Projection
Port Melville
Map of the Uinkaret Plateau [Composite]
Carta Historica y Arqueologica
Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio
Archidona La Penna De Los Enamorados Penna Et Archidona 1565
Bardewick 1588
La France
Karta ofver Norrbottens Lan [..] Peterson, 1865
The Countie of Radnor
County Map of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Cape Breton and Prince Edwards Island
Posnania et Crosno
Le Brixa et Settenil
Stockholm Stocholm Donabat Huic Operi Hieronymus Scholeus
Ments Wortzbvrg Sitten
Map of the European Polar Sea
A Map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish Settlements adjacent thereto. by Henry Popple.
An Outline to Shew the Connected Discoveries of Captains Ross, Parry and Franklin
Panoramic View of King George's Sound, Part of the Colony of Swan River
Castanowiz 1617
The Counti and City of Lyn
Baiis 1580
Granata 1565
Sicily Reduced from a Map Published by Authority at Naples in the Year 1810
New York
Carta Eclesiastica
Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio
Independent Tartary
[I] Map of Chili [II] Map of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay
Chart of the Discoveries in the Arctic Sea from Behring Strait to Baffins Bay 1819-1854
A Map of New England and New York
Carte Itineraire No. 6
Anglia [II]
Sketch Map of the Suez Canal
Saintes 1560
Chart of Course Taken by the Rurick
Holland and Belgium
Map of the South Eastern Alps Showing the Routes Followed by the Authors
Mexico, California and Texas
Southern Part of Baltic Sea
Ancient Palestine
Neu-Schwabenland, Deutsche Antarktische Expedition 1938-1939
Dept. De La Dordeogne
Map of Iceland
Modern Palestine
Vetvstiss Ad Mare Thyrrhenvcm Terracinae Oppidvm
Schels Kaart van de Kolonie Suriname of Ned[erlan]sch Guiana
History Archive - Globes


A cartouche in cartography is a decorative emblem on a globe or map. Map cartouches may contain the title, the printer's address, date of publication, the scale of the map and legends, and sometimes a dedication. The design of cartouches varies according to cartographer and period style.

History Archive - New Asia Cartouche

On 15th-century maps they are modelled after Italian precedent (simple strapwork), by the 16th century architectural and figurative elements (like coats of arms) are added. The cartographic cartouche had its heyday in the Baroque period. Toward the end of the 18th century ornamental effects in cartography became less popular, their style developed to simple oval or rectangular fields with inscriptions.

History Archive - Quebec Cartouche
History Archive - Virginia Cartouche
History Archive - Constantinople Cartouche
History Archive - New Amsterdam Cartouche
History Archive - Dutch Cartouche (Left)
History Archive - Dutch Cartouche (Right)
History Archive - Switzerland Cartouche
History Archive - Table Mountain Cartouche History Archive - Swanenburgh Cartouche
History Archive - Ascension and St. Helena Cartouche History Archive - Asia Cartouche
History Archive - New Brazil Cartouche
History Archive - Mesoamerica Cartouche


1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 17. pg. 633

History of Humanity - History Archive Logo
History of Humanity - History Mysteries Logo
History of Humanity - Ancient Mesopotamia Logo
History of Humanity - Egypt History Logo
History of Humanity - Persian Empire Logo
History of Humanity - Greek History Logo
History of Humanity - Alexander the Great Logo
History of Humanity - Roman History Logo
History of Humanity - Punic Wars Logo
History of Humanity - Golden Age of Piracy Logo
History of Humanity - Revolutionary War Logo
History of Humanity - Mafia History Logo