Tabula Terre Nove — Martin Waldseemüller (circa 1513)
The cartographers Waldseemüller and Ringmann are credited with the first use of the word America in 1507, in honor of Amerigo Vespucci. By the time this map was produced, Waldseemüller was beginning to doubt that America was a separate continent from Eastern Asia—hence the label of Terra incognita. But his earlier maps were already widely distributed, and the name took hold.
The State of Sequoyah was a proposed state to be established in the eastern part of present-day Oklahoma. In 1905, faced by proposals to end their tribal governments, Native Americans of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory proposed such a state as a means to retain some control of their land. Their intention was to have a state under Native American constitution and rule. The proposed state was named in honor of Sequoyah, the Cherokee who created a writing system in 1825 for the Cherokee language.
The Sequoyah Constitutional Convention met in Muskogee, on August 21, 1905. General Pleasant Porter, Principal Chief of the Creek Nation, was selected as president of the convention. The elected delegates decided that the executive officers of the Five Civilized Tribes would also be appointed as vice-presidents: William C. Rogers, Principal Chief of the Cherokees; William H. Murray, appointed by Chickasaw Governor Douglas H. Johnston to represent the Chickasaws; Chief Green McCurtain of the Choctaws; Chief John Brown of the Seminoles; and Charles N. Haskell, selected to represent the Creeks (as General Porter had been elected President). Muscogee journalist Alexander Posey served as secretary.
The convention drafted a constitution, drew up a plan of organization for the government, put together a map showing the counties to be established, and elected delegates to go to the United States Congress to petition for statehood. The convention’s proposals were put to a referendum in the Indian Territory, where they were overwhelmingly endorsed.
1644 map of Africa Made by Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638).
One of the most decorative and popular of all early maps of Africa, from the “golden age” of Dutch mapmaking. First issued in 1630, the map was reprinted many times between 1631 and 1667, appearing in Latin, French, German, Dutch, and Spanish editions of Blaeu’s atlases. The maps and atlases of the Blaeu family business, carried on after Willem’s death by sons Cornelis and Joan, marked the epitome of fine engraving and coloring, elaborate cartouches and pictorial detail, and fine calligraphy—the most magnificent work of its type ever produced.
In the format called carte à figures, this map contains views of the major cities and trading ports of Africa at the time: Tangier and Ceuta (Morocco), Tunis (Tunisia), Alexandria and Cairo (Egypt), Mozambique (seaport of Mozambique), Elmina (Ghana, and Grand Canary (Canary Islands) Side panels depict costumed people from areas visited along the coasts. The interior is decorated with exotic animals (lions, elephants, ostriches), which were (and still are) a major source of fascination for the public. The Nile (today’s White Nile) is shown flowing from the Ptolemaic lakes of Zaire and Zaflan. Flying fish and strange sea creatures cavort in the oceans, and the sailing ships all bear Dutch flags. Coastal names are engraved inward to give a clear, sharp outline to the continent.
Probably the most interesting cartographic feature is the identification of specific large territories or kingdoms, which have been outlined in color, including a huge Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and Monomotapa (all of southern Africa). But these seem to reflect a European sense of nationhood—something presumed and projected upon a virtually unexplored canvas—more than the actual experience of traders and explorers, who would continue to report on hundreds of smaller ethnic enclaves and political fiefdoms during the next 250 years
Interestingly note how Africa was perceived by the Early explorers no negative connotations.