Digital History>eXplorations>Columbus & the Columbian Exchange>Maps as Windows Into the Past

Activity 2: Historical Maps as Window into the Past

In the Western World, there were no maps as we know them until the Middle Ages. Map making arose to meet concrete needs:

  • To mark off boundaries
  • To survey terrain
  • To identify trade routes.

Exploration 1: Ptolomy's La Cosmographia 1482 Map

http://www.kbr.be/america/fr/1.htm
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  • Where is the world centered in the 1482 version of Ptolomy's La Cosmographia?
  • What might this tell us about the attitudes of Europeans on the eve of Columbus' voyage?
 

Exploration 2: Sebastian Munster's 1504 Map

http://www.lib.virginia.edu/speccol/exhibits/lewis_clark/exploring/ch1-2.html
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  • How accurate is Sebastian Munster's 1540 map, the first to show the Western Hemisphere?
 

Exploration 3: Abraham Ortelius's 1570 Map

http://www.newberry.org/nl/smith/slidesets/lg2,6.JPG
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  • Compare Abraham Ortelius's 1570 map to Munster's.
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