The Mapmakers' Quest: Depicting New Worlds in Renaissance Europe

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9780192100535: The Mapmakers' Quest: Depicting New Worlds in Renaissance Europe

In 1400 Europe lagged far behind much of the world in its understanding of the use of maps. And yet, by 1600 the Europeans had come to use maps for a huge variety of tasks, and were far ahead of the rest of the world in their appreciation of the power and use of cartography. The Mapmakers' Quest illuminates the forces behind this development--not only to tease out the strands of thought and practice which led to the use of maps, but also to assess the ways in which such use affected European societies and economies.
David Buisseret is one of the most eminent historians of cartography, and in this striking volume he offers a fresh and compelling approach to the cultural history of early modern Europe, revealing how the development of maps shaped and was shaped by larger movements. Taking as a starting point the question of why there were so few maps in Europe in 1400 and so many by 1650, the book explores the reasons for this and its implications for European history. It examines how mapping and military technology advanced in tandem, how modern states' territories were mapped and borders drawn up, the role of maps in shaping the urban environment, and cartography's links to the new sciences.

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David Buisseret is Professor of the History of Cartography at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is a former director of the Center for Cartography at the University of Chicago. His books include From Sea Charts to Satellite Images: Interpreting North American History Through Maps.

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