Age of Exploration Maps Collection

Welcome to the Age of Exploration Maps Collection!

The Age of Exploration Digital Maps Collection has as its focus the digitization and study of maps of the Western Hemisphere from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, beginning with the earliest conceptualization of the lay of the land and waterways through the solidification of geographic knowledge and advancements in cartography. These artistic renderings of time and space also convey much about society, culture, and politics of the imperial era, as Europeans sought to expand their influence through trade with, and a colonial occupation of, the Americas. These maps tell us indirectly about European conceptualizations of imperial “self” as well as colonized “other,” including portraits, as they do, of indigenous peoples they encountered (or imagined, if endeavoring to convey information collected on voyages made by earlier explorers/conquerors). The Age of Exploration Digital Maps Collection benefits from access to original maps in the James Walker Collection of Eugene, Oregon. Dr. Walker is also the principal investigator here, introducing each map and annotating the details, with occasional help from additional historians. The Wired Humanities Projects (WHP) has built this site by cloning and re-purposing the Mapas Project, which was constructed with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2006-2009, support from the Center for the Study of Women in Society, and the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Oregon. This project also employs the Distance Research Environment that WHP created originally for the Mapas Project, to facilitate online collaboration in annotating the details, transcribing, and translating the glosses and legends on the maps.

Search the Age of Exploration Maps Database