Wednesday, February 4, 2015

At the beginning of European Settlement

The aims of this blog are none too lofty.  It simply acts as a repository of maps and photographs of the Mid-Atlantic that I find interesting, making it less of a chore to track them down in the future.  The focus will certainly be on Maryland, but my focus will drift at times. 

A good place to begin with any study of Mid-Atlantic maps would be the Nova Virginiae Tabula.  Hondius published this document in 1630.  John Smith's 1612 maps provided a great basis for this work.  Scores of forgotten place names, villages, towns, and American Indian are scattered across the region and, perhaps, provide us with some reflection about how much European settlement altered this country. 

Although hundreds had settled down in Virginia by the time this document was published (including my own family line in 1619, the Woodsons), it proved to be one of the most important maps for this seemingly new world, stoking great interest in American colonization.

What I enjoy about older maps are the curious renderings on the map.  For instance, the map makers decided to make the Eastern Shore quite mountainous when it is anything but.  I recognize that the task is quite great for an individual who has never seen these lands to create a map like this.  However, how wondrous and terrifying it must have been for colonists and explorers who ventured into these lands with only maps like this to help with navigating.

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