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Map Collections: 1500 to 2004

Join me at the Library of Congress to look at this wonderful map collection. With maps dating as far back as the 1500’s and as recent as 2004 there’s a lot this site has to offer.

Cities and Towns — As usual with the Library of Congress you choose the main topic you want to browse. In this case Cities and Towns, and then you choose how you want to browse it with the options Subject Index, Creator Index, Geographic Location Index, and Title Index. Choose how you want to browse and you get a listing of images that you can browse. Click on the link of the one you want to browse and you are taken to the photo, or the map you wanted to see. In Cities and Towns there is a great collection of aerial photographs that really give you the feel for what the City or Town was like when the map was made or the photo taken. I, of course, had to check out where I live, so it was by Geographical location that I browsed searching for Toledo, Ohio which I found and the image they had dated back to 1876.

Conservation and Environment — “The historic and more recent maps contained in this category show early exploration and subsequent land use in various areas of the United States.” You can still browse by Subject, Creator, Geographic Location, and Title. The maps in this section are really neat because they show you more of what the terrain is like during the time period that the maps were made in.

Discovery and Exploration — “Many of these maps reflect the European Age of Discoveries, dating from the late 15th century to the 17th century when Europeans were concerned primarily with determining the outline of the continents as they explored and mapped the coastal areas and the major waterways. Also included are 18th and 19th century maps documenting the exploration and mapping of the interior parts of the continents, reflecting the work of Lewis and Clark and subsequent government explorers and surveyors.”

The best way I’ve found to search this section is by Title. Click Title Index, and it comes up with one link, click that link and you get a huge listing of links to maps to check out.

This section was so neat, with pictures of rivers as they were discovered, and the territories before they were states. I love the maps of the Mississippi, there are several and it is really interesting to see things develop around it.

General Maps — If you browse by Title in this section, you get more options. Here you will find General Maps from all over the globe. And from different time periods too. This is neat if you want to pick your favorite country, and then watch how it changed over the years till you reach present day.

Cultural Landscapes — “Cultural Landscapes geography is documented in this category by large-scale maps such as individual land surveys, county land ownership maps and atlases, large-scale topographic maps, and thematic maps showing economic activity.”

Military Battles and Campaigns — Here you can see maps from battles and campaigns. If you scroll down the page you will notice that the Civil War, American Revolution, and such are in their own sections, click there to view those. This is very interesting you can look at maps of specific battlefields and battles themselves.

When you view maps if you click them to make them larger, you will also be able to use the Zoom feature. So you can zoom in and out for more or less detail as you desire.

I hope you enjoy this site which shows history in motion.