10 September 2014

Franklin's Lost Expedition Found

Man Proposes, God Disposes by Edwin Henry Landseer, 1864.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Canadian researchers say they have discovered the wreckage of one of the ship's from Captain Sir John Franklin's lost 1845-1846 Arctic expedition, solving one of the major exploration mysteries of the Victorian Era.  Franklin's team was locked in the ice during a doomed expedition searching for a passage through the islands of northern Canada, the famed Northwest Passage.  All of the crew members eventually died.  The remains of the expedition were never found, though numerous search parties were sent out to look for them.  Researchers are not yet sure if they have found the HMS Erebus or the HMS Terror, but they have good views of the wreck under the waters of Victoria Strait, just off King William Island.

11 August 2014

The Ninth Biennial Virginia Garrett Lectures on the History of Cartography

The link below is the announcement and registration brochure for the 2014 Virginia Garrett Lectures on the History of Cartography/Map Fair of the West.

13 July 2014

55th Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries

Preliminary information of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries  to be held 30 October - 2 November 2014 in Austin, Texas is available at: http://www.sochistdisc.org/2014_annual_meeting.htm  

More information will be posted in the coming months.

17 May 2014

The wreck of Columbus's flagship found?

The anchor of the Santa María now rests in the
Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Underwater archaeologist Barry Clifford has recently announced the discovery of what he believes is the Santa María, Christopher Columbus's flagship from his epochal 1492 expedition.  Clifford and his team found the debris from the wreckage off the northern coast of Haiti, near Cap-Haïtien.

The ship was wrecked on Christmas Eve, 1492, and sank the next day, after a cabin boy was allowed to steer because all the other sailors were asleep from the festivities of the day.  Columbus ordered the deck timbers salvaged to create the first European settlement in the Caribbean, named La Navidad ("Christmas").  Archaeological evidence has located La Navidad nearby.

Clifford believes the remains of the Santa María are lodged on a coral reef about ten to fifteen feet below the water's surface.  Photos of the site in 2003 show a lombard canon, which Clifford avers has now been looted from the site.  Clifford says that, "All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus' famous flagship, the Santa Maria."

Laurence Bergreen, author of Columbus: The Four Voyages, is more skeptical.  He wonders how much of the ship would remain, given its age, the influence of earthquakes and hurricanes, and that most of the wood from the ship was used for La Navidad (and want was not used for lumber, he believes, would have rotted away).  Bergreen also comments on the lombard canon from 2003 have disappeared: "But now the lombards, if that's what they were, are gone. There's not much left to go on."

Clifford has tried to interest the Haitian government in protecting and excavating the site.  He said, "The Haitian government has been extremely helpful–and we now need to continue working with them to carry out a detailed archaeological excavation of the wreck."  Bergreen agrees that more investigation is needed: "Given its potential historic significance, let's hope this wreck will finally receive the careful and responsible attention it deserves."

15 April 2014

Women, exploration and discovery: Special panel/issue to be published in Terrae Incognitae

Ida Laura Pfeiffer (1797-1858),
an Austrian explorer and author.
Proposals are being sought for a panel dedicated to women explorers, travelers, cartographers, etc., who contributed to or participated in the exploration and discovery of our world, its lands and oceans, at the 2014 annual meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries (October 30-November 2, 2014, in Austin, Texas).  Peer-reviewed, article-length submissions will be published in a special issue of Terrae Incognitae, vol. 48.1.

Three-hundred-word proposals accompanied by a brief biographical abstract should be received by May 15, 2014, via email to Dr. Lauren Beck (lbeck@mta.ca).  Ideally contributors will both present their research and see it published in the journal, but if this is not possible, please email the editor for further information.

11 April 2014

The Hidden World of Women Cartographers

In Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography, author Will C. Van Den Hoonaard suggests the thirteenth-century Ebstorf mappa mundi may have been created by the nuns of the Ebstorf abbey. 
Will C. Van Den Hoonaard has written a recently published work that researches the oft-overlooked contribution of women to the history of cartography.  Titled Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography, printed by the Wilfrid Laurier University Press, it covers female cartographers, explorers, and geographers from the sixteenth-century till today.  It offers an intriguing take, too, on how gender may be used to interpret maps.

21 February 2014

Marginalia in cARTography

An example of map marginalia, the hard-working Niagara Falls beavers from Herman Moll's
 A New and Exact Map of the Dominions of the King of Great Britain on ye Continent of America (1715).
The Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is hosting an exhibit entitled "Marginalia in cARTography" from February 28 to May 18, 2014, in the Leslie and Johanna Garfield Gallery.  Marginalia in cARTography focuses on the artistic images that inhabit the edges, margins, and empty spaces on maps from the middle ages to the twentieth century.  These images, says guest curator and art historian Sandra Sáenz-López Pérez, "should be regarded not only as part of the map, but as elements that lead to a better understanding of the region mapped, of the cartographers and their collaborators, of their aesthetic sense, and of the world in which they were made."