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Imago Mundi


Imago Mundi, Volume 50 (1998)
English-language Abstracts


Mapping the Aztec Capital: The 1524 Nuremberg Map of Tenochtitlan, Its Sources and Meanings, by Barbara E. Mundy

The map of Tenochtitlan published along with the Latin version of Hernán Cortés's letters (Nuremberg, 1524) was the first picture Europeans had of the Culhua-Mexica city, the capital of the Aztec empire. The source of this woodcut map is unknown, and the author argues here that it was based on an indigenous map of the city. Once published in Europe, the city map and its companion map of the Gulf Coast, while certainly documentary, also assumed a symbolic function in supporting Cortés's (and thereby Spain's) just conquest of the Amerindian empire.


Norumbega and Harmonia Mundi in Sixteenth-Century Cartography, by Kirsten A. Seaver

For more than a century after Giacomo Gastaldi placed the country of Nurumberg on his map of North America (1548), Europeans were drawn to the mythical land of Norumbega. Norumbega came to be associated with the area around the Penobscot River, Maine, which was first explored by Estevão Gomes in 1525. The name itself, however, evolved from oranbega, a place indicated by Girolamo da Verrazzano on the two maps he produced to illustrate his brother Giovanni's voyage to North America in 1524. In this paper, the cosmographical, anecdotal and cartographical development of Norumbega (Nuremberg) is explored. The connection between Gastaldi and Sebastian Münster, their Neoplatonic ideas, the written and cartographical reports of Gomes's and Verrazzano's voyages, and the origin of the name oranbega are analysed. The significance of Norumbega as a New World paradigm for Noricum and Nuremberg is also discussed.


Abraham Ortelius and the Hermetic Meaning of the Cordiform Projection, by Giorgio Mangani

The cordiform projection employed by Oronce Fine, Gerard Mercator and Abraham Ortelius may have had a hermetic meaning. The focus in this paper is on Ortelius, for recent studies have suggested connections between Ortelius, Christopher Plantin and a clandestine religious sect in Antwerp, called the Family of Love (Family of Charity), whose emblem was the heart, source of divine illumination and of Free Will. It is argued that Ortelius's contemporaries in the radical religious circles of northern Europe would have perceived the Theatrum orbis terrarum in such a light. As Guillaume Postel's evaluation of Ortelius's work demonstrates, the atlas was considered a talismanic book based on the power of the images.


Production Cartographique et Enjeux DiplomatiquesLe Problème des Routes et de la Frontière entre les Pays-Bas Autrichiens et la France (1769-1779) [Map Production and Diplomatic Stakes. The Problem of Roads and the Frontier between the Austrian Netherlands and France (1769-1779)] [in French] by Marcel Watelet

At the end of the eighteenth century, when the line of the frontier between the Kingdom of France and the Austrian Netherlands was being fixed, the thematic manuscript maps of the boundary treaties played a fundamental role as tools in the process of negotiation. The maps gave the negotiators a visual grasp of the complexity of the territorial claims and an understanding of the economic and political stakes involved in the peaceful transactions. The maps discussed here, together with the treaty with which they were associated, reveal another little known but important aspect of boundary maps, namely the way the careful depiction of the major lines of land communication points to the role of the maps as records of those economic stakes.


Map Wars: The Role of Maps in the Nova Scotia/Acadia Boundary Disputes of 1750, by Mary Pedley

The Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle which ended the War of Austrian Succession in 1748 returned the European claims in North America to the status quo ante bellum established by the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. This caused particular problems for the French and the English, both claimants to the area known as Acadia, or Nova Scotia. A boundary commission was established to study the claims and establish a boundary. The memorials of their negotiations reveal their attitude towards maps as evidence or proof of sovereignty.


Red Lines on Maps: The Impact of Cartographical Errors on the Border between the United States and British North America, 1782-1842, by J. P. D. Dunbabin

In 1782 it was agreed that the frontier between the United States and British North America should run from the east to the Lake of the Woods, wrongly perceived (on the basis of Mitchell's 1755 map) as the westernmost of the Great Lakes, and then due west to the Mississippi. Other cartographical errors and misapprehensions also played a role in the fixing of the border. Thus in 1804 President Jefferson seized on the 49th parallel as the line supposedly agreed on after the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht for the border between the British Hudson's Bay territories and French (now American) Louisiana, and it was eventually adopted. The discovery of what was thought to be a conspicuous line of continuous highland south of the St. Lawrence, and the renewed attention paid in the mid-eighteenth century to the borders specified in King James VI's 1621 grant of Nova Scotia, helped frame the parameters of a dispute over what is now the Maine--New Brunswick border---one that periodically disturbed Anglo-American relations between 1783 and 1842. The negotiation of the Webster-Ashburton treaty that ended the dispute in 1842 provides another example of the selective use of maps in diplomacy.


Area Maps in Maratha Cartography: A Study in Native Maps of Western India, by Prasad P. Gogate and B. Arunachalam

The diverse mapping heritage from former Maratha territory in western India occupies a significant and advanced place in the history of native Indian cartography. Most of the surviving manuscript maps date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Some are already well known for their depiction of hill forts, sea forts and battle sites. Only recently discovered, however, are a number of areal or regional maps, in Modi or Devnagari scripts, which show administrative features, strategic settlements and major route ways. In this paper, we offer a systematic description of four such areal maps---from the coastal region of Konkan (Mumbai to Mangalore)---and a critical appraisal of their cartography.


Navigating in Tropical Waters: British Maritime Views of Rio de Janeiro, by Luciana de Lima Martins

This paper considers how the experience of travelling around the globe helped to shape the geographical imagination of British seamen in the early nineteenth century. It focuses in particular on graphic images of Rio de Janeiro produced by a Royal Navy midshipman (later lieutenant), Charles William Browne. More generally, the paper examines the place of the Brazilian harbour in the Royal Navy's strategic and logistical planning; the increasingly significant role of coastal views, plans and charts in improving and enlarging British geographical knowledge; and the production and circulation of iconic images of hybrid tropical landscapes by British seamen.


Maps and the Assessment of Parish Rates in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales, by Richard R. Oliver and Roger J. P. Kain

This paper reviews the role of maps in the assessment of rates levied for the relief of poverty in nineteenth-century England and Wales and examines the relationships between tithe maps and parochial maps both in general terms and with specific reference to Poor Law unions in the county of Kent. An appendix lists 207 parochial assessment maps made in connection with the levy of poor rates which are extant in the public archives and libraries of England and Wales. Other `lost' examples of this genre awaiting discovery in parish churches and vestries will undoubtedly add to this small but important constituent of the corpus of English and Welsh cadastral maps.


Richard Edes Harrison and the Challenge to American Cartography, by Susan Schulten

Richard Edes Harrison's innovative maps are critical to the history of American cartography. His techniques defied convention and created a new standard for the look and shape of the world on a map. Harrison designed the maps to be both visually appealing and politically charged, reflecting the urgency of the war while also maintaining an elegant artistic dimension. How he produced these maps, and why they so electrified the population, is the subject of this article.


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