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Early American Cartographies$
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Martin Bruckner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834695

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838723_bruckner

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Introduction The Plurality of Early American Cartography

Introduction The Plurality of Early American Cartography

(p.1) Introduction The Plurality of Early American Cartography
Early American Cartographies

Martin Brückner

University of North Carolina Press

This book begins with a discussion of two atlas maps showing the Western Hemisphere—Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio by Abraham Ortelius and the map America by Henry S. Tanner—which illustrate the story that is most frequently told about three centuries of early American cartography. 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 titled Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, it was indicative of the general adoption of cartography as the graphic container of geographical information. Placed inside a world atlas, the chapter documented the rise of “America” from an initially mapless to a map-dominated representation. Beginning with maps such as Americae Sive Novi Orbis, discussions about America became subsequently carto-coded; from public documents to personal writings, references to specific map titles, coordinates, and the uniquely sculpted visual form of the American continent would from here forward reflect and shape the idea of America as a place, space, or environment.

Keywords:   atlas maps, Western Hemisphere, Abraham Ortelius, Henry S. Tanner, American cartography

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