Most Interesting Historical Maps

Bizarre proposal from 1920 to create new single, peaceful European union with 24 artificially created states ( P.A. Maas, Vienna)

European union

Modern copy of The Catalan Atlas (1375) by Abraham Cresques – the most accurate Medieval map of Europe

The Catalan Atlas

A map of Brazil by the Portuguese cartographer Fernão Vaz Dourado, 1571.

Fernão Vaz Dourado

1778 Map of Paris

Map of Paris

A world map from “Kitab-ı Bahriye”, written by Piri Reis in the 16th century as a gift to Ottoman Sultan Süleyman. This collection of maps and information about world geography was compiled from over twenty maps of Arab, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Indian and Greek origin.

Kitab-ı Bahriye

An 1853 relief map of Italy with statistical tables

map of Italy

Map of London from 1836

Map of London

A 1535 map of Britain and Ireland featuring the mythical island Brasil (also known as Hy-Brasil)

map of Britain

Japanese pictorial map of North America from 1924.

North America

A map of Ireland depicting men and women of different social classes (c. 1610)

map of Ireland

A map depicting Europe as a queen, with Spain as her head, Portugal as her crown, and Italy as her arm (1804)

Europe as a queen

The Oronteus Finaeus map, published in 1531, shows Antarctica before it was “discovered” and how it looked ice-free. The map shows continent rivers, valleys, and coastlines, as well as the approximate location of the south pole. It also gives the correct longitudinal coordinates.

Oronteus Finaeus map

Topography of South America (1922)

Topography of South America

Map of South America, made by Lucas de Quirós in 1618. Now on display at the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Map of South America

An Ottoman-era map of Cairo, Egypt, drawn by the great sailor and geographer Piri Reis in 1525.

map of Cairo