Publication Date

April 27, 2010



Historical maps can not only offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, but also be beautiful works of art. We’ve highlighted a number of maps on AHA Today in the past and today we revisit those posts and also link to new map resources.

David Rumsey Map Collection Online
The David Rumsey Map Collection displays over 22,000 maps and images online. Find maps from a wide variety of themes, like:19th Century Maps by Children, Cassini Terrestrial and Celestial Globes 1790-92, Japanese Historic Maps Online Library and more. As if this collection and web site wasn’t interactive and remarkable enough, we’ve also blogged about the David Rumsey Map Collection integration with both Google Earth and Google Maps.

Washington, D.C. 1851 map

World Digital Library
The World Digital Library contains an immense amount of documents and images. We devoted a blog post just to interesting war posters we found there. But the World Digital Library is also a resource for historic maps. Find maps of the world (like this18th-century Latin map), maps of war (for instance the Grand Theater of the War in Italy), and maps on a smaller scale (like this Latin woodcut map of Palestine).

World Digital library map

National Geographic Map of the Day
In 2008 National Geographic posted a Map of the Day for nine months. Each map is presented with a few paragraphs of explanation along with a quiz question about related historical events. You can zoom in and out on the maps for a broad overview or a detailed closer look.

National Geographic Map of the day

Henry Hudson 400
Last summer we profiled the Henry Hudson 400 web site, which “celebrates the 400th anniversary of explorer Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage to the Americas in search of a water passage to the Pacific Ocean.” This web site also collaborates with Google Maps to overlay historic maps with current ones.

Henry Hudson 400th Anniversary

GOOD: Wanderlust
GOOD magazine’s web site hosts a map feature they call Wanderlust. There you can find “history’s greatest journeys, from Magellan to Kerouac” mapped out. Click on one of the 23 trips and explore them point by point with more information and pictures at numerous points.

Wanderlust Map from GOOD magazine

BBC – The Beauty of Maps
The Beauty of Maps web site from the BBC compliments their recent documentary series on maps. While the video highlights and TV clips aren’t available in all areas, the historical maps section is. Within this section explore five historical maps through interactive features that allow you to zoom in, learn about specific elements of the map, and link to more information.

BBC Beauty of Maps

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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