Monday, 26 July 2010


A wonderful map of Africa which had me mystified for a while.  I wondered if it was a fabrication, an attempt to make it appear an old map but created relatively recently.  I have a very old atlas dating from around 1840 and in there Africa is largely blank.  This seems to have very much more detail.

But it doesn't, not really.  I happened upon a world history site which had a page analysing this very map and gave me all the answers I needed.  It was drawn by the Dutch cartographer, Willem Blaeu, in the early 17th century.  The analysis points out that the empty spaces are taken up with drawings of animals and the seas are full of ships, many flying Dutch flags.
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  1. Beautiful vintage map-postcard! Looks so olde-worlde. Looking at it reminds me of the times when European explorers were racing to discover and explore new lands and to find the Spice Islands.

  2. I love how Africa was so much more narrow at the bottom in old maps, before they realised that it is slightly wider in proportion to the rest of the continent. Aaaah, Africa. My old home.

  3. @Sreisaat, The Spice Islands sound so exotic, I always think!

    @Emm, until you pointed that out, I hadn't registered it, but it's true. They always used to make the south look pointed.


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