Maps & Charts

An exploration of maps and cartography. Their shapes, colours and the far away places they may reveal (or mask).
A Portuguese portolan nautical chart detailing the coasts of western Europe, part of north-western Africa and the eastern corner of present day Newfoundland, Canada.
Pedro Reinel, c. 1504
Portolan charts are navigational maps based on realistic descriptions of harbours and coasts. They were first made in the 14th century in Italy, Portugal and Spain. With the advent of the Age of Discovery, they were considered State secrets in Portugal and Spain, very valuable in the description of Atlantic and Indian coastlines for newcomer English and Dutch raiding, and later trading, ships. The word portolan comes from the Italian adjective portolano, meaning “related to ports or harbours.” -wikipedia
source file (3418×2312, 4.58MB)

A Portuguese portolan nautical chart detailing the coasts of western Europe, part of north-western Africa and the eastern corner of present day Newfoundland, Canada.

Pedro Reinel, c. 1504

Portolan charts are navigational maps based on realistic descriptions of harbours and coasts. They were first made in the 14th century in Italy, Portugal and Spain. With the advent of the Age of Discovery, they were considered State secrets in Portugal and Spain, very valuable in the description of Atlantic and Indian coastlines for newcomer English and Dutch raiding, and later trading, ships. The word portolan comes from the Italian adjective portolano, meaning “related to ports or harbours.” -wikipedia

source file (3418×2312, 4.58MB)

Map of the Strait of Magellan
Jodocus   Hondius, 1606
The geographic details for the map of the Straits of Magellan came from  Bernardus Joannis Monasteriensis[?] who had participated in the first Dutch  expedition to sail through the Straits in 1599-1600. The map was printed from a copper plate engraved by  Lambert Cornelisz in 1606. Made prior to the confirmation of a route  around Tierra del Fuego, the Strait was, at that time, the only passage  between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Controlled by the Dutch,  exorbitant fees were charged for the passage.

The map is oriented with South at the top as indicated by an elaborate  compass rose. On the left (East) is the “Mar del Nort,” with one ship  exiting the Eastern end of the Strait and a Dutch fleet on the right (west) sailing in the Mar del Zur. At the top is “Tierre Del Fuogo.” Except for mountains  lining the shore and six named bays along the Strait, Tierra del Fuego  is truly a terra incognita. The amorphous island actually fades away as  it reaches the border of the map. “America Pars” defines the map’s lower land mass. The  Strait snakes between the two, lined with numbers indicating the varying  depth of the water. More…
source file (3905×2934, 3.1MB)

Map of the Strait of Magellan

Jodocus   Hondius, 1606

The geographic details for the map of the Straits of Magellan came from Bernardus Joannis Monasteriensis[?] who had participated in the first Dutch expedition to sail through the Straits in 1599-1600. The map was printed from a copper plate engraved by Lambert Cornelisz in 1606. Made prior to the confirmation of a route around Tierra del Fuego, the Strait was, at that time, the only passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Controlled by the Dutch, exorbitant fees were charged for the passage.

The map is oriented with South at the top as indicated by an elaborate compass rose. On the left (East) is the “Mar del Nort,” with one ship exiting the Eastern end of the Strait and a Dutch fleet on the right (west) sailing in the Mar del Zur. At the top is “Tierre Del Fuogo.” Except for mountains lining the shore and six named bays along the Strait, Tierra del Fuego is truly a terra incognita. The amorphous island actually fades away as it reaches the border of the map. “America Pars” defines the map’s lower land mass. The Strait snakes between the two, lined with numbers indicating the varying depth of the water. More…

source file (3905×2934, 3.1MB)

The History of Science Fiction, ver. 1 (54” X 30”), Ward Shelley, 2011
wardshelley.com: “History of Science  Fiction" is a graphic chronology that maps the literary genre from its  nascent roots in mythology and fantastic stories to the somewhat  calcified post-Star Wars space opera epics of today. The movement of  years is from left to right, tracing the figure of a tentacled beast,  derived from H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds Martians. Science Fiction is  seen as the offspring of the collision of the Enlightenment (providing  science) and Romanticism, which birthed gothic fiction, source of not  only SciFi, but crime novels, horror, westerns, and fantasy (all of  which can be seen exiting through wormholes to their own diagrams,  elsewhere). Science fiction progressed through a number of distinct  periods, which are charted, citing hundreds of the most important works and authors. Film and television are covered as well.

source file (4400x2364, 2.8MB)

The History of Science Fiction, ver. 1 (54” X 30”), Ward Shelley, 2011

wardshelley.com: “History of Science Fiction" is a graphic chronology that maps the literary genre from its nascent roots in mythology and fantastic stories to the somewhat calcified post-Star Wars space opera epics of today. The movement of years is from left to right, tracing the figure of a tentacled beast, derived from H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds Martians. Science Fiction is seen as the offspring of the collision of the Enlightenment (providing science) and Romanticism, which birthed gothic fiction, source of not only SciFi, but crime novels, horror, westerns, and fantasy (all of which can be seen exiting through wormholes to their own diagrams, elsewhere). Science fiction progressed through a number of distinct periods, which are charted, citing hundreds of the most important works and authors. Film and television are covered as well.

source file (4400x2364, 2.8MB)

Siege of Kandahar (Afghanistan) 1737. Manuscript map. - National library        of Sweden.
The siege of Kandahar was a conflict between the ruler of Iran, Nader Shah, and the Afghan Hotaki dynasty that took place between April 1737 and March 1738. Much of the duration of the siege saw little fighting as Nader’s forces’  lack of heavy artillery forced them to settle into a blockade of Kandahar. As the Iranians became more impatient, they made several attempts to  take the city by storm but the Afghans defiantly repulsed these attempts. On March 25, 1738 the city surrendered.
source file (1894x2696)

Siege of Kandahar (Afghanistan) 1737. Manuscript map. - National library of Sweden.

The siege of Kandahar was a conflict between the ruler of Iran, Nader Shah, and the Afghan Hotaki dynasty that took place between April 1737 and March 1738. Much of the duration of the siege saw little fighting as Nader’s forces’ lack of heavy artillery forced them to settle into a blockade of Kandahar. As the Iranians became more impatient, they made several attempts to take the city by storm but the Afghans defiantly repulsed these attempts. On March 25, 1738 the city surrendered.

source file (1894x2696)