December 5, 2011

Map of South and North Korea in Eight Provinces

This 19th-century Japanese pen-and-ink and watercolor map of Korea possibly was copied from an original manuscript map of 1785 by Hayashi Shihei, “Sangoku tsūran zusetsu” (Illustrated survey of three countries). It depicts eight provinces that became the basis of the current administrative provinces and municipalities in South Korea and North Korea. The Tokugawa shogunate banned Hayashi’s original map in 1791, along with his book of the same year, Kaikoku heidan (Discussion of the military problems of a maritime nation). The Tokugawa shogunate considered Hayashi a dangerous critic of official policy for arguing the need to reeducate Samurai warriors and prepare for naval warfare.

Colombia and Venezuela

Chicago-based Rand McNally became a major publisher of atlases, maps, globes, and travel guides in the United States in the second half of the 19th century. This map of Colombia and Venezuela is from the 1898 edition of Rand, McNally & Cos. Indexed Atlas of the World, Containing Large Scale Maps of Every Country and Civil Division upon the Face of the Globe, together with Historical, Statistical and Descriptive Matter Relative to Each. The atlas contains two volumes, one with maps of the United States, the other maps of foreign countries. On the back of the map are detailed indices for Colombia and Venezuela listing such features as creeks, islands, lakes, mountains, rivers, and towns. The map includes Panama, which at the time was a province of Colombia. The inset maps are of the railroad between Caracas and the port city of La Guaira in Venezuela, and of the Isthmus of Panama with its projected canal and railroad. Construction of the Panama Canal began in 1904, shortly after Panama’s separation from Colombia in November 1903.

Colton's Japan: Nippon, Kiusiu, Sikok, Yesso and the Japanese Kuriles

J.H. Colton & Company was founded in New York City, most likely in 1831, by Joseph Hutchins Colton, a Massachusetts native who had only a basic education and little or no formal training in geography or cartography. Colton built the firm into a major publisher of maps and atlases by purchasing the copyrights to other maps and re-publishing them. Most of the Colton maps were of individual states or groups of states in the United States, but some were of other countries. This 1855 map of Japan is attributed to George Woolworth Colton, Colton’s eldest son who also was active in the firm. As seen in this example, virtually all Colton maps were framed in decorative borders of intertwining vines, flowers, or geometric shapes. The map was published in the year following the conclusion of the 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa between Japan and the United States, Japan’s first treaty with a Western nation.

Coast of Cuba from Cape of San Antonio to the Bay of Cardenas

This Spanish map of a portion of the north coast of Cuba shows the coastline, coastal features, soundings, navigational hazards, a fortification, and settlements. It includes a decorative wind rose and five coastal profile views. The map is oriented with south at the top. It is from the Real Escuela de Navegación in Cadiz, Spain, and was acquired by the Library of Congress from the Maggs Brothers, London.

General Depiction of the Empty Plains (in Common Parlance, the Ukraine) Together with its Neighboring Provinces

Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan was a French engineer who worked in Poland between 1630 and 1647. He built fortifications in Ukraine, most of which was then under Polish control, took part in battles with the Cossacks and Tatars, and in 1639 traveled by boat down the Dnieper (Dnipro, in Ukrainian) River. Beauplan produced two important early maps of Ukraine that were based on his own observations and his own careful astronomical and topographic measurements. His map of 1648, shown here, includes detailed information about the border areas, including Tatar routes and forts. The map is oriented with south at the top, a characteristic feature of military maps in countries exposed to attack from the south. The map was engraved by Willem Hondius, the youngest member of the distinguished family of Flemish engravers. In 1651 Beauplan also published, in French, Description d'Ukranie (Description of Ukraine), an important primary source for information about Ukraine in the 17th century.

The Holy Land or Promised Land (Formerly Palestine), Recently Depicted and Published

Nicolaus (also spelled Nicolas, Nicolaes) Visscher was the son of a Dutch master painter and mapmaker, Claes Janszoon Visscher, and was known for the exquisite artistry of the maps he produced. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Dutch were involved in a race against Portugal for control of the spice trade. The antipathy between the two states ran especially deep because of the alliance of Portugal with the Kingdom of Spain, with whom the Dutch had been embroiled in the Eighty Years' War (1566-1648). Only one year before the creation of this map, the Dutch had ousted the Portuguese from Sri Lanka and were engaged in a flurry of cartographic endeavors related to their commercial and imperial expansion. Although the Holy Land belonged to the Ottoman Empire at this time, the Dutch had a foothold in Persia and designs for further expansion in the Near East.