The Spatialization of History (Americas)

We’ll use these graphics for tomorrow’s class in order to understand some of the things Levander and Levine discuss in their introductory essay. Geographical space, at least in terms of its mapping, is an invention. The Americas, in this sense, were invented by those who “discovered” it. Yet there are other geographical imaginings of the hemisphere: Turtle Island, for example, as an indigenous “cognitive map” of the terrain of North America. The process whereby history is spatialized, Levander and Levine, suggest, is rife with occlusions, repressions, and appropriations. More on this on Friday.

Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 map of the world, the first, it is said, to use the term “America”:

A Spanish map of the “island” of California:

A map of US “expansionism” (i.e. continental imperialism):

And look at this beautiful map of the Western Hemisphere from 1874:

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