California breaks off into the Pacific Ocean! Well, circa 1650.
July 22, 2009 9:20 AM   Subscribe

It would take over 50 years after the creation of this map before it was confirmed that California is indeed attached to the mainland of America. 20 Fascinating Ancient Maps (via). More zoomable historical maps at the World Digital Library. (previously)
posted by desjardins (32 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Huh, I live on a lion's back. That's pretty awesome.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:26 AM on July 22, 2009


Very nice. What sort of technology are they using at the World Digital Library to make the maps zoomable?
posted by LarryC at 9:55 AM on July 22, 2009


These maps are all pretty awesome, and the ability to look at them closely is great, but "ancient"? Ancient is a word that means something, and it doesn't mean the 19th Century.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:56 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


"What’s more badass than a map of Belgium?"

Um, everything.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 10:02 AM on July 22, 2009


Modern and completely correct.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:02 AM on July 22, 2009


How was he able to draw the Great Californian Gulf in such detail, when it doesn't exist? Was he just making shit up?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:20 AM on July 22, 2009


California is indeed attached to the mainland of America

...while still remaining completely detached from the heartland of America.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:20 AM on July 22, 2009


When I was a young believer I saw maps like this and wondered if it gave weight to the idea of a young Earth. If the planet was less than 10,000 years old then it made sense that tectonic plates might shift at a faster rate and that early maps would look foreign to what we know now. Looking back now, it's interesting to see how I tried to reconcile conflicting ideas like tectonic shift and insane batshittery.
posted by sambosambo at 10:25 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


conflicting ideas like tectonic shift and insane batshittery

FYI - AskMe has the top Google hit for "guano insanity." The more you know!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:40 AM on July 22, 2009


These maps are all pretty awesome, and the ability to look at them closely is great, but "ancient"? Ancient is a word that means something, and it doesn't mean the 19th Century.

Anything post-T and O is positively modern...as this site proves. (Small images, but good discussions, and includes reconstructions from ancient written descriptions.)
posted by Sova at 10:45 AM on July 22, 2009


It actually looks like the map of "California" is actually the Baja. The southernmost point is "C. san Lucas," and the eastern shore matches up roughly with today's maps of the west coast of mainland Mexico. So as a map of what was then thought of as California, it's not wildly inaccurate. The central problem is the assumption that there was a northern passage into the Bahia, when in fact the mainland continues and becomes what we call "California" today.
posted by Miko at 10:45 AM on July 22, 2009


California is indeed attached to the mainland of America

...while still remaining completely detached from the heartland of America.


Visit the Central Valley sometime and you may begin to question that assessment.
posted by The World Famous at 10:48 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of old maps, I just came across the link to this story, "Vinland Map of America No Forgery, Experts Say," on the American Heritage website.
posted by Man-Thing at 10:59 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love maps, maps are really great. Why do I love maps so much? Thanks for this.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:01 AM on July 22, 2009


Visit the Central Valley sometime and you may begin to question that assessment.

Actually, it wasn't a fair assessment for most regions of the much-varied state. Or for the "Heartland of America," either, so far as that goes (if there really is such a thing).
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:25 AM on July 22, 2009


Maps are beautiful creatures, and there are some especially beautiful ones here. However. Why do these places always put their maps up only in a browser-zooming interface, and not offer me the full jpeg? I'd love to print some of these poster-sized. They can't possibly be copyrighted, can they?
posted by echo target at 11:51 AM on July 22, 2009


What's with the drop shadow, chrome-effect title on this map? I thought that was a 1980s schoolbook thing.
posted by run"monty at 12:01 PM on July 22, 2009


...it would help if I actually lunk to it.

This map.
posted by run"monty at 12:04 PM on July 22, 2009


I think it's particularly awesome that there are three little islands on that map between California and the mainland.

It reminds me of how, when I drew maps as a little kid, I would randomly jiggle my hand when drawing coastline, to make it look more realistic.
posted by gurple at 12:13 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's with the drop shadow, chrome-effect title on this map?

It mimics the effect of a wood or metal type block with a slight, I suppose, overprint. The same effect is used in a number of 20th century display typefaces, but the effect is as old as Gutenberg.
posted by dhartung at 12:27 PM on July 22, 2009


Why do these places always put their maps up only in a browser-zooming interface, and not offer me the full jpeg? I'd love to print some of these poster-sized. They can't possibly be copyrighted, can they?

Click the link at the top for the TIF file.
posted by stopgap at 12:45 PM on July 22, 2009


"What’s more badass than a map of Belgium?"

Um, everything.



When did metafilter stop getting jokes?




/me probably just got trolled
posted by cmyr at 12:55 PM on July 22, 2009


California is indeed attached to the mainland of America

fuck.
posted by breadfruit at 1:19 PM on July 22, 2009


Someone should turn these into Warfish games. The Khodzhend map looks like it would be particularly cool, and the Venice one would be great also.
posted by painquale at 1:26 PM on July 22, 2009




Why do I love maps so much?

because they're awesome. duh. and don't worry, you're not alone.
posted by desjardins at 1:53 PM on July 22, 2009


I live on the back of the lion, too, though I don't get what's so funny about it.
posted by LVdB at 2:35 PM on July 22, 2009


If someone would publish that "Game of France," I would totally play it.

IMHO, the "Why It's Cool" on these pages is superfluous. "Why is it cool? Because it's an OLD MAP! It is FREAKING AWESOME!"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:36 PM on July 22, 2009


Regarding that first map of California: oh jeebus how I wish that were true.
posted by pkingdesign at 10:37 PM on July 22, 2009


California is indeed attached to the mainland of America

...while still remaining completely detached from the heartland of America.


That's not necessarily a bad thing.
posted by grubi at 5:24 AM on July 23, 2009


apparently 50 million years from now baja at least will be well on its way up the coast of california :P

also btw, here's a bit more on 'allegorical maps' fwiw...

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 5:43 AM on July 23, 2009


It reminds me of how, when I drew maps as a little kid, I would randomly jiggle my hand when drawing coastline, to make it look more realistic.

heh, I still do this at age 30. That, or I trace coffee stains... they make pretty "realistic" maps.
posted by baxter_ilion at 8:31 PM on July 28, 2009


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