Experiment 9- Mapes

Experiment 9- Maps [Abbreviated assignment]

Learning goals:

  1. Apply knowledge of map reading from World History Commons
  2. Explore Ames Library of South Asia Maps at the University of Minnesota
  3. Apply knowledge of metadata and SIFT to map to draw conclusions.


  1. Chose a map from the Ames Library of South Asia Maps that is after 1400 CE.
  2. Write a list of metadata you find relevant to the map. This may include some metadata from the Ames Library website, and it should include your own metadata.
  3. In one paragraph, what do you find historically significant about this map?


Map: Aracam
URL: http://purl.umn.edu/228911

  • Date Created: 1602
  • Creator: Pieter van den Keere, ~1571- 1646
  • Language: French
  • Location Covered: Covers regions from current day India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar (Burma)
  • Significant Features: rivers, mountains, cities, forests, navigable waterways near coast, islands.
  • Original source: "Likely from: Thresor De Chartes, Contenant Les Tableaux De Tous Les Pays Du Monde / Barent Langenes. Amsterdam: Christoffle Guyot, 1602.
  • Error in description: "Relief shown pictorially. Shows roads, railroads, lighthouses, passes, forts, and administrative divisions." No roads, railroads, or lighthouses are shown.


This is one of the earliest maps in the Ames Library collection. A SIFT analysis shows that van den Keere was a map maker and engraver originally from the Netherlands [1]. The attention to detail on the coastline of this map indicates sophisticated knowledge of the current Bangladesh/Ganges delta. In contrast to the mapping of the island in the delta, the mountain and forest areas are more uniform and suggest the mapmaker’s lack of familiarity with the interior of the country. Like most colonial maps, this one contains an odd mixture of natively named geographic features mixed with French-named features. Each of the cities is marked with the same little drawing, with two towers a pyramid and a circle. The generic iconic representation of cities combined with the lack of interior detail lead me to conclude that the Dutch had limited knowledge of the the Bangladeshi delta region at this time. This conclusion lines up with what I know of the Dutch at the time who were primarily interested in trade, not physical conquest of colonies.