Baja California as an island, 1639.

One of the major geographic misconceptions originating during the discovery and exploration of North America was the depiction of California as an island. Based on erroneous Spanish manuscript accounts, European cartographers began in 1622 to portray the western coast of North America as a separate island. Major publishers, especially the British and the Dutch, accepted this concept well into the early eighteenth century, long after Father Eusebio Kino confirmed during exploration of the American southwest from 1698 to 1701 that California was not an island. Shown here is one of fourteen manuscript maps acquired by the great nineteenth-century collector of Americana, Henry Harisse.


A sightseer’s travel map of Japan showing famous landmarks, mountains, seaside resorts and hot springs

1936 Japan National Railroad (JNR) map of the Japanese Empire including Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria produced under the supervision of Prof. Sho Takahashi of the National Railroad Bureau.

Suffice to say, it contains many amusing advertisements, including the one on the front cover which is for… some kind of hormone supplement lotion?

For those interested, the full high resolution version of the map can be found here: http://sta.sh/01tjvu8j9u42