Early American Cartographies

Early American Cartographies

Edited by Martin Brückner
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9780807838723_bruckner
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  • Book Info
    Early American Cartographies
    Book Description:

    Maps were at the heart of cultural life in the Americas from before colonization to the formation of modern nation-states. The fourteen essays inEarly American Cartographiesexamine indigenous and European peoples' creation and use of maps to better represent and understand the world they inhabited.Drawing from both current historical interpretations and new interdisciplinary perspectives, this collection provides diverse approaches to understanding the multilayered exchanges that went into creating cartographic knowledge in and about the Americas. In the introduction, editor Martin Bruckner provides a critical assessment of the concept of cartography and of the historiography of maps. The individual essays, then, range widely over space and place, from the imperial reach of Iberian and British cartography to indigenous conceptualizations, including "dirty," ephemeral maps and star charts, to demonstrate that pre-nineteenth-century American cartography was at once a multiform and multicultural affair.This volume not only highlights the collaborative genesis of cartographic knowledge about the early Americas; the essays also bring to light original archives and innovative methodologies for investigating spatial relations among peoples in the western hemisphere. Taken together, the authors reveal the roles of early American cartographies in shaping popular notions of national space, informing visual perception, animating literary imagination, and structuring the political history of Anglo- and Ibero-America.The contributors are:Martin Bruckner, University of DelawareMichael J. Drexler, Bucknell UniversityMatthew H. Edney, University of Southern MaineJess Edwards, Manchester Metropolitan UniversityJunia Ferreira Furtado, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, BrazilWilliam Gustav Gartner, University of Wisconsin-MadisonGavin Hollis, Hunter College of the City University of New YorkScott Lehman, independent scholarKen MacMillan, University of CalgaryBarbara E. Mundy, Fordham UniversityAndrew Newman, Stony Brook UniversityRicardo Padron, University of VirginiaJudith Ridner, Mississippi State University

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0080-2
    Subjects: History, Population Studies, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. INTRODUCTION: THE PLURALITY OF EARLY AMERICAN CARTOGRAPHY
    (pp. 1-32)
    Martin Brückner

    Two atlas maps showing the Western Hemisphere—Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio(1587) by Abraham Ortelius and the mapAmerica(1823) by Henry S. Tanner—illustrate the story that is most frequently told about three centuries of early American cartography (Figures 1 and 2). The Ortelius map, designed at the peak of sixteenth-century reconnaissance expeditions and travel reports and after the introduction of the Mercator projection, permanently changed formerly speculative depictions of the New World. Published in an atlas entitledTheatrum Orbis Terrarum,the map was indicative of the general adoption of cartography as the graphic container of geographical...

  6. PART I. CARTOGRAPHIC HORIZONS AND IMPERIAL POLITICS

    • 1. DEEP ARCHIVES; OR, THE EMPIRE HAS TOO MANY MAPS

      • FROM ABSTRACTION TO ALLEGORY: THE IMPERIAL CARTOGRAPHY OF VICENTE DE MEMIJE
        (pp. 35-66)
        Ricardo Padrón

        In 1761, Vicente de Memije, a creole living in Manila, published two maps of what he called “the Hispanic world.” The first,Aspecto geográfico del mundo Hispánico,was a fairly conventional geographical map of just over half the world, from Italy westward to the Straits of Malacca, compiled from existing printed maps, mostly French and English (Figure 1); the second was an extraordinary allegorical adaptation of this same map (Figure 2). The allegorical map,Aspecto symbólico del mundo Hispánico,represents one of the most stunning cartographic images of the Hispanic monarchy ever produced. It depicts Spain and its overseas possessions...

      • CENTERS AND PERIPHERIES IN ENGLISH MAPS OF AMERICA, 1590–1685
        (pp. 67-92)
        Ken MacMillan

        In the past few decades, historians have become interested in the relationship between centers and peripheries in the construction of early modern American empires. As described most notably by sociologist Edward Shils, “As we move from the center . . . in which authority is possessed . . . to the . . . periphery, over which authority is exercised, attachment to the central value system becomes attenuated.” In addition, “the further one moves territorially from the locus of authority, the less one appreciates authority.” Among the wide-ranging implications of these conclusions in a variety of academic disciplines, this theory...

    • 2. THE (UN)MAKING OF COLONIES

      • A COMPASS TO STEER BY: JOHN LOCKE, CAROLINA, AND THE POLITICS OF RESTORATION GEOGRAPHY
        (pp. 93-115)
        Jess Edwards

        In the fifth chapter of hisSecond Treatise of Government(composed circa 1680–1682; first published 1689), titled “Of Property,” the philosopher John Locke sets out his famous labor theory of ownership and economic value. Locke accepts that the world was originally “given . . . to Mankind in common” and concerns himself with the question of how, in this case, any individual might claim a private property, or “dominion.” The answer is, through the addition of labor, or “improvement”: “As much Landas a Man Tills, Plants, Improves, Cultivates, and can use the Product of, so much is his...

      • REBELLIOUS MAPS: JOSÉ JOAQUIM DA ROCHA AND THE PROTO-INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT IN COLONIAL BRAZIL
        (pp. 116-142)
        Júnia Ferreira Furtado

        In 1789, after discovering a plot of rebellion in the captaincy of Minas Gerais, Portuguese commissioners named one of their star cartographers, José Joaquim da Rocha, as one of the possible instigators of a nascent independence movement. Rocha became a suspect after several co-conspirators had declared his maps to be a practical guide for coordinating the movement’s plans. For Rocha’s maps to be thus accused came as a surprise to the political establishment and the Brazilian mapmaking community. It was only a decade ago in 1778 that Rocha had produced, to much official acclaim, five maps of the Minas Gerais...

  7. PART II. CARTOGRAPHIC ENCOUNTERS AND LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

    • 3. NATIVE MAPS / MAPPING NATIVES

      • THE WRONG SIDE OF THE MAP? THE CARTOGRAPHIC ENCOUNTERS OF JOHN LEDERER
        (pp. 145-168)
        Gavin Hollis

        The map has long been recognized as both a practical and ideological apparatus of empire. Since J. B. Harley proclaimed that early colonialist maps served “to prepare the way for European settlement,” it has become commonplace to note that maps were instruments of possession, displacement, and domination. As Harley (and many others since) argued, “Potential settlers see, on the map, few obstacles that are insurmountable,” because mapmakers neglected to “reflect the presence of indigenous peoples and their imprint on the land.” The presentation of a vast but cultivatable wilderness encouraged European readers to imagine foreign lands as unclaimed, uninhabited, and...

      • AN IMAGE TO CARRY THE WORLD WITHIN IT: PERFORMANCE CARTOGRAPHY AND THE SKIDI STAR CHART
        (pp. 169-247)
        William Gustav Gartner

        It is only proper that cartographic historians ask permission and seek guidance when trying to understand indigenous maps on their own terms. However, scholars should realize the enormous burden that we place on all indigenous peoples through our research, even when we seek informed consent before publication. We ask much of indigenous peoples and give very little in return.

        One important issue for many American Indians is that the pursuit of knowledge often undermines cultural self-determination. Maps such as the Skidi Star Chart are a graphic index of a cultural system. The act of publication disrupts traditional networks of knowledge...

      • CLOSING THE CIRCLE: MAPPING A NATIVE ACCOUNT OF COLONIAL LAND FRAUD
        (pp. 248-275)
        Andrew Newman

        Over generations, descendants of the Algonquian peoples who once inhabited the region of New York Harbor have recalled that the first Dutch colonists asked for as much land as the hide of a bullock (or cow) could cover, then claimed as much land as that hide, cut into strips, could encircle. Yet I believe that this fantastical story preserves the memory of an actual event. Moreover, it threads the history of the founding of New Amsterdam together with those of other, far-flung maritime colonial outposts, and it offers a window into the cultural history of early modern European imperialism.¹

        This...

    • 4. COSMOPOLITAN MAPS

      • COMPETITION OVER LAND, COMPETITION OVER EMPIRE: PUBLIC DISCOURSE AND PRINTED MAPS OF THE KENNEBEC RIVER, 1753–1755
        (pp. 276-305)
        Matthew H. Edney

        One of the many curiosities among the cartographies of colonial North America is a set of three maps of land grants along the Kennebec River, in the Eastern District of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, or present-day Maine, that were printed in Boston and London in 1753 and 1755. It was rare for maps of such geographically precise land grants to be printed. It was truly exceptional for three maps of the same small area to be printed in such quick succession. Two of the maps made overt reference to a dispute over conflicting land grants. Historians have hitherto taken...

      • BUILDING URBAN SPACES FOR THE INTERIOR: THOMAS PENN AND THE COLONIZATION OF EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY PENNSYLVANIA
        (pp. 306-338)
        Judith Ridner

        In 1751, Governor James Hamilton journeyed westward from Philadelphia and across the Susquehanna River into the colony’s interior to visit the new town of Carlisle, a village he had assisted the colony’s proprietor, Thomas Penn, in founding. Upon his return, he noted that it had “exceeded my Expectations in all respects.” Although the 312 lots of the town’s recently surveyed grid were mostly vacant and its population was too small and “poor” to “think of building a Court House or Market for some time,” he saw significant signs that Carlisle would not only persist but thrive.¹

        With “near fifty Houses”...

      • MAPPING HAVANA IN THE GENTLEMAN’S MAGAZINE, 1740–1762
        (pp. 339-360)
        Scott Lehman

        In the opening scene ofControl Room(2004), a documentary about the Al Jazeera Television Network and the war in Iraq, Samir Khader, senior producer of Al Jazeera argues: “You cannot wage a war without rumors, without media, without propaganda. Any military planner that prepares for a war, if he does not put media propaganda at the top of his agenda is a bad military planner.” As if to confirm Khader’s statement, in a later scene the camera zooms in on a detailed map of Iraq that has been haphazardly spread across a computer console. Brooding over the map, an...

  8. PART III. META-CARTOGRAPHIES:: ICONS, OBJECTS, AND METAPHORS

    • NATIONAL CARTOGRAPHY AND INDIGENOUS SPACE IN MEXICO
      (pp. 363-388)
      Barbara E. Mundy

      In the pages of Antonio García Cubas’sAtlas geográfico, estadístico é histórico de la República Mexicana,viewers can still encounter the traces of an ambitious state undertaking of the nineteenth century. The atlas opens to a map of the country, and following it each of Mexico’s thirty-one states appears on two-page spreads. The space of the nation thus unfolds and expands across its pages. Such atlases would have been quite familiar to audiences in the United States as well; armchair travelers in New York or Omaha, Nebraska, could choose to view their own nation thus in their national atlases. But...

    • THE SPECTACLE OF MAPS IN BRITISH AMERICA, 1750–1800
      (pp. 389-441)
      Martin Brückner

      When in February 1770, after a three-year subscription campaign, John Henry finally publishedA New and Accurate Map of Virginia,his first and only map invited public notice (Figure 1). Consisting of four sheets, the map measured when fully assembled an eye-catching thirty-eight by fifty-two inches. Minute graphic symbols marking mountains, rivers, and habitations asked for the closer reading of Virginia’s geography. At the same time, the map’s neoclassical title cartouche appealed to the discerning viewer versed in eighteenth-century graphic design and pictorial allegory. Blending cartographic and artistic representation, the Henry map competed with an older generation of large maps...

    • HURRICANES AND REVOLUTIONS
      (pp. 442-466)
      Michael J. Drexler

      I begin with a coincidence. If one were to correlate areas under the threat of slave resistance with those subject to periodic and often devastating hurricanes, one map would suffice to capture an image of this doubly dangerous zone. The resulting map would correspond, perhaps unsurprisingly, to what Immanuel Wallerstein has defined as the extended Caribbean. Peter Hulme has offered one explanation of this region’s extranational features: ecological integrity, its association in the European imagination with cannibalism, and its susceptibility to hurricanes (Figure 1).¹

      Hulme’s study of the extended Caribbean closes at the end of the eighteenth century. For him,...

  9. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 467-468)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 469-485)