Mapping Texas: The Beginning

January 27, 2017

The image above is the so-called “Waldseemuller Map“, one of the oldest maps on display in our new special exhibit: Mapping Texas: From Frontier to Lone Star State.

Titled Tabula Terre Nove, the map was produced in 1513 to be included in a new edition of Claudius Ptolemy’s Geographic , a book that was originally written circa 150 AD.  The sixteenth century was a strange time. Works written a thousand years before still set the scientific standard, but as our map suggests, things were beginning to change. It was the start of the modern era,  the intellectual confluence of Roman-era knowledge, and new discoveries of the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration and the Enlightenment. 

The map was made by Martin Waldseemuller, the German cartographer who gave “America” its name when in 1507 he published a ground-breaking map of the world showing the newly discovered lands to the West as an entirely separate continent. The map was based on  data brought back from the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher Columbus and other explorers. At the time, Vespucci was published more extensively than Columbus and his accomplishments were better known, so it was in his honor that the New world was named.  Although personally I would have preferred “Christopherland”, America does have a nice ring to it. 

Mapping Texas includes maps from every era from the Age of Discovery all the way to the 20th century. Each map carries with it a story of exploration, political intrigue and numerous other factors that have shifted Texas’ borders. Be sure to come check it out!

Authored By Chris Wells

Adventure is my middle name. Well… actually it’s French. Literally, it’s Christopher French Wells. But the spirit of adventure lives in me, and has always inspired me to go out and seek new experiences. I’ve traveled to Europe, Mexico and South America, as well as few places in the U.S. I’ve seen different places with different cultures, learned some things about humanity and about myself in particular. My goal is to lend my unique perspective, carved out of my own triumphs and tragedies, fears and fancies encountered during my years of college and international travel, to the other great voices of this blog. Hopefully to the enjoyment of our readers…

2 responses to “Mapping Texas: The Beginning”

  1. Maria Shelton says:

    I was just wondering why the map that Alonzo Avarez de Pineda created in 1519, was not in exhibit? He is mentioned in the 7th grade Texas TEKS . It would have been an eye opener for students as they connect the information of the various maps to that map.

  2. Chris says:

    Hello, thank you for commenting!
    “Mapping Texas” includes maps belonging to the collections of the Texas General Land Office, the Bryan Museum, the Witte Museum and the collection of Frank and Carol Holcomb. The Pineda map is held at the Archivo de Indias in Seville, Spain which unfotunately is not one of the contributors to this exhibit.

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