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Mapping Latin America

A Cartographic Reader

For many, a map is nothing more than a tool used to determine the location or distribution of something—a country, a city, or a natural resource. But maps reveal much more: to really read a map means to examine what it shows and what it doesn’t, and to ask who made it, why, and for whom. The contributors to this new volume ask these sorts of questions about maps of Latin America, and in doing so illuminate the ways cartography has helped to shape this region from the Rio Grande to Patagonia.

In Mapping Latin America,Jordana Dym and Karl Offen bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to examine and interpret more than five centuries of Latin American maps.Individual chapters take on maps of every size and scale and from a wide variety of mapmakers—from the hand-drawn maps of Native Americans, to those by famed explorers such as Alexander von Humboldt, to those produced in today’s newspapers and magazines for the general public. The maps collected here, and the interpretations that accompany them, provide an excellent source to help readers better understand how Latin American countries, regions, provinces, and municipalities came to be defined, measured, organized, occupied, settled, disputed, and understood—that is, how they came to have specific meanings to specific people at specific moments in time.

The first book to deal with the broad sweep of mapping activities across Latin America, this lavishly illustrated volume will be required reading for students and scholars of geography and Latin American history, and anyone interested in understanding the significance of maps in human cultures and societies.

A webpage of internet resources is available.

360 pages | 118 color plates, 12 halftones, 1 line drawing | 8 1/2 x 11 | © 2011

Geography: Cartography, Cultural and Historical Geography

History: Latin American History

Latin American Studies


Mapping Latin America . . . is the first publication that takes on the ambitious and long overdue task of showcasing the crucial role that maps have played in shaping human communities across the entire region and, no less importantly, in demonstrating their value to students and scholars alike in gaining new insights into the societies that produced them. . . . [T]he volume succeeds admirably in demonstrating that scholars of colonial and modern periods alike would do well to take seriously the role of space and spatial representation in the shaping of Latin America’s societies, cultures, and environments. This book will appeal not only to students and scholars of Latin America but to anyone with an interest in critical studies of cartography and visual culture.”

Heidi V. Scott, University of Massachusetts, Amherst | Imago Mundi

“[Mapping Latin America] adds a unique and valuable perspective about the region. . . . Recommended.”

L. Yachner | Choice

“This compendium will appeal to a diverse array of groups, from the casual reader to the most avid ‘map geek’. . . . The accompanying essays do an excellent job of situating each map in the appropriate political, economic and/or cultural context, and the book can thus be read in its entirety or used as a resource to shed light on a particular place and time in the region’s history. As such, it would be a good addition to the bookshelves of many scholars interested in the geography or history of Latin America, clearly illustrating the power of maps.”

Edward L. Jackiewicz, California State University, Northridge | Journal of Latin American Studies

“This is one of the most important books to have appeared on a Latin American topic in the last quarter century and beyond. . . . What this superb volume does is inspire one to look and think, and thus hopefully to promote a deeper understanding of the representation of meaningful spatial distributions.”

David J. Robinson, Syracuse University | Journal of Latin American Geography

“This volume, which serves as a source of original insights about particular times and places as well as a methodological primer for use in the classroom, will without doubt catalyze even greater interest in the roles of those and other types of maps in Latin American history.”

Andrew Sluyter, Louisiana State University | Hispanic American Historical Review

“Ambitious and wide-ranging, . . . Mapping Latin America is an excellent resource for undergraduate instructors who can use these maps as primary documents to explore major themes and developments in Latin American history. That the volume’s contributors are experts across a wide range of disciplines illustrates the interdisciplinary interest in, and relevance of, these maps. The reader will also likely inspire greater critical cartographical readings of graphic texts among geographers and historians alike.”

Sarah A. Blue, Texas State University | Journal of Historical Geography

Mapping Latin America offers a new kind of map history, one that brilliantly combines interdisciplinary approaches to maps that range over many centuries, producing insightful essays that ground the maps firmly in the societies that created and consumed them. It sets a significant new standard both for the history of cartography in Latin America and for the study of cartography itself.”

David Rumsey, Cartography Associates, David Rumsey Map Collection

Mapping Latin America gathers together the foremost scholars of cartography and Latin American history. The novel format of the work allows Jordana Dym and Karl Offen to present a stunning range of cartographic materials, all carefully contextualized by the outstanding scholarship of the authors, which notably includes assessment of the contributions of indigenous cultures. Illustrating over five hundred years of mapping, this work is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the history of Latin America.”

Neil L. Whitehead, University of Wisconsin–Madison

“In a single volume, featuring fifty-seven succinct yet authoritative chapters, Dym and Offen have not only remapped the field of Latin American historical cartography, but have also charted a new path for critical map studies. More than a millennium’s time depth and a continent’s expanse are surveyed with fascinating details and composite illumination. Area specialists, devoted cartophiles, and adventuresome readers in general will find this collection a delight.”

Kent Mathewson, Louisiana State University

Table of Contents

Foreword Matthew H. Edney 
Introduction Karl Offen and Jordana Dym 
I. The Colonial Period: Explorations and Empires
Imagining a New World
1. Early Empires   Francisco Estrada-Belli and Heather Hurst  
Mural, north wall of Room 1 at La Sufricaya, Guatemala, ca. AD 379
2. America   John Hébert  
Martin Waldseemüller, Universalis cosmographia, 1507
3. Charting Shores   Ricardo Padrón  
Diogo Ribeiro, CartaUniversal , 1529
4. Fabled Land   D. Graham Burnett  
Walter Ralegh, map of Guiana (El Dorado), ca. 1596
Urban Society
5. Indigenous Civilization   Barbara E. Mundy  
Map of Tenochtitlán (Mexico), 1524
6. Projecting Order   Richard L. Kagan  
Plano fundacional de San Juan de la Frontera (Argentina), 1571
Plaza Mayor de Lima , 1680
7. Hybrid Space   Barbara E. Mundy  
Map from the Relación Geográfica of Cholula (Mexico) , 1579–1581
Environment and Society
8. Litigating Land   Barbara E. Mundy  
Oztoticpac Lands Map, Texcoco (Mexico), ca. 1540
9. Mining Mountains   Peter Bakewell  
Illustration with map of a Potosí silver refining mill and Cerro Rico, ca. 1590
Planta general de la Villa Ymperial de Potosí (Bolivia), ca. 1590
10. Between Two Seas   W. George Lovell and Christopher H. Lutz  
Antonio Herrera, Descripción del Avdiencia de Gvatimala, 1604
Juan López de Velasco, Descripción de la Audiencia de Guatemala, 1575
11. Bourbons and Water   Vera S. Candiani  
Joaquín Velázquez de León and Joseph de Burgaleta , Perfil y corte por la latitud de las compuertas y puntos principales del canal de Huehuetoca < (Mexico), 1774
Ignacio Castera, Plano general de toda la extensión del Desagüe < (Mexico), 1795
Counter Visions
12. Andean Empire   Rolena Adorno  
Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, map of Huamanga (Peru), 1590s
Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, Mapa mundi de[l] Reino de las In[di]as, 1615
13. Imperial Rivalries   Matthew Restall  
Herman Moll, A Map of the West-Indies . . . explaining what belongs to Spain, England, France, Holland, etc., 1715
14. Allegory and Empire   Ricardo Padrón  
Vicente de Memije , Aspecto Simbólico del Mundo Hispánico, 1761
Vicente de Memije , Aspecto Geográphico del Mundo Hispánico , 1761
Control and Defense
15. Edge of Empire   Karl Offen  
[Sabastián de Aranciuia y Sasi], Mapa de lo principal de la Prouincia de Nicaragua , 1716
Franciso Antonio Fuentes y Guzmán, Audiencia de Guatemala, ca. 1690
16. Mapping New Spain Borderlands   Dennis Reinhartz  
Agustín López de la Cámara Alta et al., Mapa General . . . de la nueba colonia Santander (Mexico) , 1758
Francisco José de Haro, . . . todas las billas y lugares de españoles haci como las Missiones de indios y presidios existentes en la Provincia Nuevo Santander ( Mexico), ca. 1770
17. Forts and Ports   Joseph L. Scarpaci  
Antonio M. de la Torre y Cárdenas, Plano de la Plaza de la Havana (Cuba), 1817
Agustín Crame, Plano de la Plaza de Panamá , 1779
18. Estate Maps   David Buisseret  
[Robert Baugh], Plan of Papine Estate (Jamaica), 1834,
Plan de la première, seconde et troisième habitations de M. de Laborde (Haiti), ca. 1790
Bourbon Space
19. Myths and Measurements   Neil Safier  
Charles-Marie de la Condamine, Carte du cours du Maragnon (Amazon basin), ca. 1745
20. Creole Landscapes   Magali M. Carrera  
José Antonio de Alzate Ramírez, Nuevo mapa geográfico de la América septentrional española (Mexico), 1767
Luis de Mena, casta panel (Mexico), ca. 1750
21. Cartographic Independence   Junia Ferreira Furtado  
José Joaquim da Rocha, Mapa da capitania da Minas Gerais < (Brazil), 1778
José Joaquim da Rocha, Mapa da comarca da Sabará (Brazil), 1778
II. The Nineteenth Century : Enlightenment, Independence, and the Nation-State
Exploration and Cartography
22. Mapping Mountains   Karl S. Zimmerer  
Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland, Géographie des plantes équinoxiales (the Chimborazo Map) ( Ecuador), 1807
Pedro Cieza de León, Brevis exactaq totivs novi orbis < (South America), 1560
23. Traversing Space   D. Graham Burnett  
John Arrowsmith, Map of Guayana to Illustrate the route of R. H. Schomburgk, 1840
24. Cutting Across   Peter H. Dana  
Lionel Gisborne, Atlantic and Pacific Junction: Topographical Map of a portion of the Isthmus of Darien In Site Of Proposed Inter-Oceanic Navigation (Panama), 1852
25. Minerals and War   Karl Offen  
Josiah Harding, Map of Part of the Desertof Atacama(Bolivia), 1877
Bounding the State
26. Initial Boundaries   Jordana Dym  
[John Arrowsmith], Chart to Accompany Thompson’s Official Visit to Guatemala (Central America), 1829
27. Interior Designs   Lina del Castillo  
Agustín Codazzi, Mapa Corográfico de la Provincia de Vélez (Colombia), 1850
28. Historical Geographies   Raymond B. Craib  
Antonio García Cubas, Carta General de la República de México , 1858
Antonio García Cubas, Los Insurgentes: Un juego histórico (Mexico), 1891
29. Drawing the Line   Paula Rebert  
[Comisión de Límites Mexicana], “No. 29. Línea divisoria entre México y los Estados Unidos,” [1857]
30. Measuring Up and Fitting In   Carla Lois  
Demócrito, El compás con el que nos mide Europa (Argentina), 1887
Instituto Geográfico Militar, Superficies comparées avec celle de la République Argentine , 1913
Order and Progress
31. Coffee Grounds   Stefania Gallini  
Herman Aú, Mapa de la República de Guatemala , 1876
32. Portraying and Planning a City   Fernando Pérez Oyarzun and José Rosas Vera  
Teófilo Mostardi-Fioretti, Plano topográfico de la ciudad de Santiago de Chile , 1864
Ernest Ansart, Plano de Santiago (Chile), 1875
33. From Field to Port   Michael Johns  
Dirección de Ferrocarriles Nacionales, Mapa de Los Ferrocarriles en Explotación, República Argentina , 1895
34. The Life of a Map   Raymond B. Craib  
Copy of a map of San Juan Bautista de Acultzingo, Veracruz (Mexico), 1895
Martin Holzinger, Plano de la División de los Terrenos del Pueblo de Acultzingo (Mexico), 1872
III. The Twentieth Century: Maps for Every Purpose and Many New Mapmakers 
Imagined Communities
35. Educating the Nation   Lina del Castillo  
Oficina de Longitudes, Mapa de la República de Colombia dedicado a la instrucción pública , 1920
Ángel M. Díaz Lemos, Carta de Colombia , ca. 192–
36. Reordering Our World   Jennifer A. Jolly  
Joaquín Torres-García, Inverted Map of South America, 1936
Joaquín Torres-García , Inverted Map of South America, 1943
37. National Production   Carla Lois  
Control de Estado de la Presidencia de la Nación, ¡Produzcamos! (Argentina), 1950
38. Representing the Nation   Sarah A. Radcliffe  
Ubicación territorial de los pueblos indígenas del Ecuador , 2005
39. Ties That Bind   Marie Price  
Ryan Morris, map for the article “The Mexican Connection,” Atlantic Monthly, 2007
Urban Planning
40. A Fruit Company Town   John Soluri  
Tela Railroad Co., Diesel and Fuel Oil Facilities in Tela (Honduras), 1934
U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Section, Tela, Honduras, 1929
41. Tropical Modernism   Sylvia Ficher and Francisco Leitão  
Lucio Costa, Plano Piloto de Brasília, (Brazil), 1957
Lucio Costa, s ketches of the Plano Piloto, 1957
42. On the Road   James R. Akerman  
General Drafting Co. for Esso Standard Oil, S.A., Mapa de las carreteras de la República de Cuba (© 1956), 1961
43. Mass Transit   Alain Musset  
Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, Ciudad de México, Red del Metro, Ciudad de México, 2005
44. Open for Business   Altha J. Cravey  
El Paso Chamber of Commerce, Twin Plants: American Factories on the Mexican Border, 1973
Keller Koch Realtors, Juárez Industrial ParksMap (Mexico), 2007
45. Mayas and Tourism Markets   Walter E. Little  
Junta Departamental de Turismo de Sacatepéquez , Visite Antigua Guatemala , 1963
Colección Veras, La Antigua Guatemala , 1996
Revolution and Resistance
46. National Security and Transnational Insecurity   Michael J. Schroeder  
Cuba: The Strategic Location, 1962
U-2 reconnaissance photographs of Cuban missile installations, 1961
47. Revolutionary Power, Divided State   Joaquín M. Chávez  
FMLN, Mapa oficial de la República de El Salvador, annotated ca. 1991
48. Controlling People and Space   Matthew J. Taylor and Michael K. Steinberg  
Anonymous witness, Mapa 12: Samaritano (etnomapa) (Guatemala), 1992
49. Sewing Resistance   Ericka Kim Verba  
Untitled testimonial tapestry of a mother seeking a desaparecido (Chile), ca. 1973–1980s
Untitled testimonial tapestry of a shantytown (Chile), ca. 1970s-1980s
Geography, Environment, and Resources
50. Vertical Environments   Karl S. Zimmerer  
Javier Pulgar Vidal, Las ocho regiones naturales del Perú , 1972
ONERN, Mapa ecológico del Perú , 1976
51. Renewed El Dorado   Christian Brannstrom  
SUDAM, Amazônia: O Eldorado que surpreenderá o mundo( Brazil), 1971
52. Hydrologic Modeling   Jessica Budds  
Dirección General de Aguas, Ubicación de la cuenca (Chile), 2002
Dirección General de Aguas, Valle del Río de La Ligua: Esquema de modelación del sistema (Chile), 2002
53. GIS Maps and the Amazon Borderlands   David S. Salisbury  
Centro de Investigación de Fronteras Amazónicas, Actividad maderera en la comunidad indígena Alto Tamaya (Peru), 2004
Centro de Investigación de Fronteras Amazónicas, Concesiones mineras auríferas en la frontera central Perú-Brasil , 2005
Ethnic Mapping
54. Ethnic Mapping   Gregory Knapp  
Ángel Barriga B., Mapas de grupos indígenas (inclusive negros y pescadores) (Ecuador), 1961
55. Making Black Territories   Karl Offen  
Comisión Técnica Ley 70 de 1993, Tierras de comunidades negras ( Colombia), 2002
Consejo comunitario “Manos Unidas Del Socorro” (Colombia), 2001
56. Ironies of Conservation Mapping   Anthony Stocks and Peter Taber  
Peter Taber, Indigenous Land Use Zones in the Bosawas Reserve, Northern Nicaragua, for the period 1994–2007
Peter Taber, Detail of Mayangna Land Use Zones and Cultural Features in Mayangna Sauni As, Northern Nicaragua, for the period 2004–2007
57. Mapping the Pemon Homeland   Bjørn Sletto  
Arcadio Basabe Centeno and Josė Mariano Cranes Sucre, Mapa mental, Kavanayen (Venezuela), 2003
Jacinto Sucre et al., Proyecto etnocartográfico Inna Kowantok (Venezuela), 2003
Bjørn Sletto, Makunaïmo Kowamüpö Dapon , Habitat Pemon Sector 5, La Gran Sabana (Venezuela), 2004
Additional Resources   Jordana Dym and Karl Offen  
About the Authors  

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