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Early Modern Cartography

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Mark Koch, a professor at St. Mary's College in Michigan, has written a paper entitled “Ruling the World: The Cartographic Gaze in Elizabethan Accounts of the New World.” In it he describes the development of maps from bird's persepctives to a more overhead perspective and the power assocations that come with it. “The ruled map presented a privileged view of the land,” writes Koch. “The rediscovery of this grid system, first used by Greek and Roman empires, profoundly affected the European construction of space, changing art, architecture, and cities, as well as changing representations and conceptions of the world.”

The paper is fairly lengthy but comes complete with footnotes and references. Sadly, only a few maps are incorporated into the paper.

The Early Modern Literary Studies, which hosts this paper, also has an extensive listing of resources on early modern cartography.

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