CULTURE & ARTS
12/01/2015 10:49 am ET

They Don't Make Maps Like this Anymore

Cartography nerds, get excited.
Leo Belgicus, Hondius, Jodocus, 1563-1612.

Since the human invention of territorial borders there has been a fascination with maps. Maps have defined the way we understand the world, outlining the geographical -- and often political -- delineations of humanity.

"Worlds Revealed," a new Library of Congress blog created in November, will feature some of the more vintage maps from the LoC archive. The maps, dating back as early as the 1500s, show a time when cartographers used their own artistic stroke to illustrate the world, including cities, railroads, national parks -- even the cosmos.

"With this blog, we invite you to broaden your conception of what a map is," the Library of Congress notes on its site. "We will highlight cartographic objects from our collections that sometimes go beyond what usually ends up in exhibits and in textbooks and bring to the forefront uncataloged objects that have never before been placed online."

Take a peek into the maps of "Worlds Revealed" below.

  • Map of Lenawee County, Michigan, 1857.
    Bechler
    Map of Lenawee County, Michigan, 1857.
  • Map of Peking, 1914.
    Tianjin/ Library of Congress
    Map of Peking, 1914.
  • A portolan chart of the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent continents, 1633.
    Pascoal Roiz/Library of Congress
    A portolan chart of the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent continents, 1633.
  • Portolan atlas of the Mediterranean Sea, 1590.
    Joan Oliva/Library of Congress
    Portolan atlas of the Mediterranean Sea, 1590.
  • New weldt oder Inseln, so hinder Hispanien gegen Orient bey dem land India ligen, 1550.
    Sebastian Münster/Library of Congress
    New weldt oder Inseln, so hinder Hispanien gegen Orient bey dem land India ligen, 1550.
  • The great Qing Dynasty's complete map of all under heaven, 1890.
    Arthur William Hummel/Library of Congress
    The great Qing Dynasty's complete map of all under heaven, 1890.
  • Central America, 1850.
    Library of Congress
    Central America, 1850.
  • The delineation of the south of the world , adapted to a singular manner, 1630.
    Eckebrecht, Philipp Eckebrecht, Johannes Kepler, Johann Philipp Walch/Library of Congress
    The delineation of the south of the world , adapted to a singular manner, 1630.
  • Virginia, 1624.
    William Hole, John Smith/Library of Congress
    Virginia, 1624.
  • A new and correct map of the world : laid down according to the newest observations, 1702.
    W Godson/Library of Congress
    A new and correct map of the world : laid down according to the newest observations, 1702.
  • Chart of the Mediterranean, Black Sea, and the coasts of western Europe and northwest Africa, 1559.
    Mateus Prunes/Library of Congress
    Chart of the Mediterranean, Black Sea, and the coasts of western Europe and northwest Africa, 1559.
  • Africa Board, 1640.
    Jodocus, Hondius, Hugues Picart, Jean Boisseau/Library of Congress
    Africa Board, 1640.
  • Portolan chart of the Pacific coast from Mexico to northern Chile, 1500.
    Library of Congress
    Portolan chart of the Pacific coast from Mexico to northern Chile, 1500.
  • Wu bei zhi, 1644.
    Yuanyi Mao/Library of Congress
    Wu bei zhi, 1644.
  • Jodocus Hondius/Library of Congress
    Leo Belgicus, Hondius, Jodocus, 1563-1612.
    Jodocus Hondius/Library of Congress

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