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Lucas Appelmann
GNU Terry Pratchett
GNU Terry Pratchett

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That's why I'm doing this. Just trying.

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Explore Adventure analyzes where and when people in different countries search for locations in other countries.

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Buckminster Fuller Creates an Animated Visualization of Human Population Growth from 1000 B.C.E. to 1965

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It's been here before, but it doesn't hurt to mention it again.
The New York Public Library Has a “Digital Time-Travel Service” for Its Historical Maps
The New York Public Library’s NYC Space/Time Directory launched a project that plots 5,000 digitized street maps across the five boroughs, organized by decade from 1850 to 1950.

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[Discworld Day Raffle] Birdworld Surrey

Lots of prizes available in the Discworld Day Raffle. Some of the books are signed and stamped by either Rob Wilkins or Stephen Briggs. Other items include a Discworld Game Mat, a cuddly Owl, and a blown Emu egg. More items will be added as we venture closer to Friday !

Will you be there? What would you like to win?

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St. Lewis [sic] from the observations of an 18th-century spy, 1804

One of the first printed maps of ” St. Lewis ” [sic] or for that matter of any city west of the Mississippi, from George Henry Victor Collot’s exceedingly rare “Journey in North America.” Collot’s maps were praised by Eberstadt as “the very perfection of the engraver’s art and of the greatest value to the historian.”

When Collot visited St. Louis in 1796 it was a small settlement under Spanish control since the end of the French and Indian War. It held some 600 inhabitants, all French speaking and apparently “less degenerate than the race which dwell on the American side.” (Journey, pp. 247-252) Collot recognized its strategic significance:

“The position of St. Lewis, five leagues from the mouth of the Missouri, and eight from that of the Illinois, considered in a military point of view, is one of the best on the river Mississippi…. If we consider St. Lewis in a commercial point of view, we shall find its position still more fortunate.” (p. 249)
All the more puzzling, then, were the poor state of its fortifications and tiny garrison of 17 men, from which “it might easily be presumed… that Spain had the intention of abandoning Upper Louisiana.” (p. 248) To remedy the situation, Collot in the Journey proposes two alternative plans for fortifying the town (pp. 257-264). These are described in the text in some detail and illustrated on the map offered here.

Though small, the map is more than adequate to show the layout of St. Louis as it was in 1796, including the somewhat complex topography, the street plan, locations of buildings, and existing fortifications (whose placement was in Collot’s view useless). Letters and numbers are keyed to geographic features and fortifications mentioned in the text, and small insets at left and top center illustrate forts proposed by Collot. The map seems to have been drawn or engraved by someone lacking a full command of English, and would have benefitted from closer editing by the author. For example, the title is oddly phrased, an arrow in the Mississippi indicates that it flows to the north, and an island in the river bears the caption “Sand-bank un covered in duy seesons.” For all these flaws, the map is an eminently useful picture of the settlement as it was at the end of the 18th century, albeit with an emphasis on its military rather than civilian aspects.

Overview of Collot’s mission, report & maps
The 1763 Treaty of Paris transferred the territory west of the Mississippi River from France to Spain, while the lands east of the river were ceded to Great Britain. In 1783, the lands east of the Mississippi were formally annexed by the United States, though for many years its hold on the region remained tenuous. It was in this context that the government of post-Revolutionary France, the “Directory,” schemed to reacquire France’s lost American territories. The Directory had an acrimonious relationship with both America and Spain, and the possibility of supporting an insurrection by the region’s Francophone inhabitants was considered by many to be a viable means of regaining Louisiana and the Illinois Country.

Against this backdrop, General George Henri Victor Collot (1750-1805) was ordered in 1796 to undertake a secret reconnaissance of what was then the western American frontier. Collot was a gifted map maker and a veteran of colonial service, including service under Rochambeau during the American Revolution and as governor of Guadeloupe (Haiti). He traveled from Pittsburgh down the Ohio to the Mississippi, up the Mississippi to the Missouri and Illinois Rivers, and then back down the Mississippi to New Orleans. The journey was harrowing, including harassment by the American military, the death of his traveling companion at the hands of Indians, and his detention by the Spanish government in New Orleans. He nevertheless managed to construct and preserve a detailed narrative and a large number of fine manuscript maps and views of the region that he traversed. Many of these were groundbreaking, containing never before recorded information about a wilderness that was just beginning to undergo settlement.

English and French editions of Collot’s Journey in North America were printed in Paris in 1804, making it the first printed map of the city. Publication was however suppressed due to Napoleon’s sale of Louisiana to the United States the previous year. It had become expedient to suppress Collot’s reconnaissance, rather than publish its results and admit to the Americans the full extent of his espionage. As a result the maps did not come to market until 1826, after publisher Arthus Bertrand purchased the sheets of the Journey from Collot’s estate. They are also quite rare, a scarcity engendered by Bertrand himself:

“The whole edition has lately been sold by the notary of the Estate, and the bookseller who purchased it reserved no more than 300 copies in French, and 100 in English. All the rest have been destroyed in a view to give more value to this important Work.” (Journey, p. iii)

In all, an early, rare and informative map of St. Louis, with a marvelous backstory.

See the details:

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The Geography of Death

Mortality rates in the US still show the effects of slavery. 

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#GeoawesomeMapOfTheDay Redrawing the Map of Great Britain from a Network of Human Interactions by Ratti et al., 2010
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