A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7000 images, 3 million hits| History of Science, Math & Tech | Press & appearances in The Times, Le Figaro, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places...
This detail is from a pivotal moment in time in a crucial battle in the endgame of the European Theatre of WWII. It is Christmas, 1944, and the action takes place in the Ardennes. The German forces made a very unexpected assault through thick and very problematic wood, pushing Allied forces back along a long front, forcing a very perceptible bulge in the line--a bulge pointed the wrong way. The bulge was pretty much in the middle of the line and in the middle of the bulge was a famous circle, and inside this circle was the 101st Airborne division in the town of Bastogne, and it was surrounded for the time being by overpowering elements of the Wehrmacht, including three infantry divisions and a panzer division The boxes with the cross-hatches are all enemy forces, and for a time, the "AB101" stood quite by themselves.
The full map from which this detail is made is found at the Library of Congress site, here; the full suite of eleven maps showing the development of the battle from 16 December 1944 to 18 January 18, 1945 is also found here.
This interesting engraving shows a map of the relatively new Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, U.S.A. It was engraved by James Smillie (1807-1885) and published in 1846, 16 years after opening and addressing a need of the quick-growing burrough whose population grew from 47k in 1840 to 139k in 1850 to 279k in 1860. (Brooklyn would overtake Manhattan in population by 1930, with 2.5 million vs. 1.8 million for Manhattan. More population stats here.) What interests me most is that small vignette at the bottom right, which shows a quiet scene at the rise in the cemetery called Ocean Hill--what it reveals in the background, though, is an uninterrupted view across Brooklyn and the Hudson River, and on into New Jersey. Pastoral, Farmlands. Its a found bit of history, a quiet, privileged view.
(The church in the engraving is about 2mm wide in the original.)
This woodcut of applications and applicators to injured humans, lacking the human, waiting for the human, the missing human, was made by Hieronymous Fabrizzi (or Jerome Fabricius, 1537-1619), and found in his Opera Chirurgica, printed in 1723. Even though this is a pretty straight-forward image, it strikes me as a little odd, a little off, looking a bit like inhuman trappings, the entrapments of a human waiting to be built, an artificial skin with artificial bones. It was much less than that, and in its way, much more—it was a statement of the advances of medicine in the 16th century, a map of the ability of man to replace himself; a map of the artificial man. Perhaps the image of our own artificial man, showing our ability to replace organs, bone, skin, limbs, etc.may come to look to the people of the near future the same way that we here in the present look back on Fabricius’ mage.
A Map of Getting Wounded
This map of the wounded man was a very popular, much reproduced image, seeing publication in many works since it first appeared in Johannes de Ketham's Fasciculus Medicinae, printed in the year Columbus set sail for India. It was a battle map, really—a battle for the human body, showing the effects of what happened to that body when someone tried to erase its existence. The image is graphic, realistic and fairly gruesome, and highly useful. It was accompanied by instructions on how to deal with all of the trauma, and to save the man thus that he could fight again. In its way, this might be the earliest issue of M.A.S.H. This woodcut, as the next, appeared in Hans von Gersdorff. Feldtbüch der Wundartzney (printed in Strassburg, by H. Schotten, in 1528).
A Map of Letting the Blood out of the Human Body.
Well, it really wasn’t like that, not how I mean by by snippy modernist viewpoint looking back on medical history with no contextual appreciation. Bloodletting was an approach to healthfulness, as blood was seen as one of the four major elements (or “humours”) of the human body that needed to be kept in balance. This was accomplished via the application of leeches or by the more common (and quicker) practice of venesection, or opening a vein to allow the blood to come out. (Let’s reference Steve Reich’s magnificent “Bruise Blood” creation of 1966 at this point—I don’t think that I’ll ever have a better chance to drop a reference to this piece of revolutionary music in regards to venesection again.) Thus this map was map for the practiconers of bloodletting—the physicians, and more probably the barbers and other assistants who would inherit this lesser procedure from the more-busy doctors. In the history of maps of anatomy and the general practice of mapping the human condition, this woodcut x-ray of the best places to drain human blood would not survive close to the age of modernity, disappearing almost entirely by the 18th century, and becoming much more scarce well before that.
[This is numbered post 2,000--a number that does not include another 500 or so "Quick Posts"--written for this blog since beginning in February 2008.]
"Der Erde und Ihre Atmosphare" from Astronomischer Bilderatlas, by Ludwig
Preyssinger, published in 1853 (with 12 engraved plates1, following the
first edition of 1840, which had 10 plates). Source: found at Michael Stoll's flickr set, a superior and large image, here.]
Our older daughter Emma asked that question years ago, when she was six or seven. It was a great question, and one of those questions, really, that only kids can come up with. It is also reminiscent of Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak's A Hole is to Dig, a classic work published in 1952 with these sorts of question/responses, a kid-cratic method of inquiry and answer, that is possible generally only with a younger and fluid mind. ("What is a hole? A hole is when you step in it you go down" and "a hole is to dig" and so on.)
People from long ago certainly knew that clouds were not nearly as high as the Sun and Moon and stars, but how high could they be? How high was the sky? How thick was the envelope of air around the Earth? Exploratory balloon ascents could help that question along, but only somewhat: heights attained in the first 80 years or so of ballooning reached 43,000 feet. (The question of ballooning and the limits of the atmosphere comes up early, as we can see with Jane C. Webb Loudon, the author of the anonymously-published The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century in 1827, interestingly published nine years after Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: "... and the hampers are filled with elastic plugs for our ears and noses, and tubes and barrels of common air, for us to breathe when we get beyond the atmosphere of the earth.") In 1803, the record stood at 24,000; in 1835, 26,000; in 1862, 39,000; the record of 43,000 feet was reached in 1927, and at a great cost. On the other hand, more than half of the atmosphere exists at 3 miles above the Earth, and 70% of it is at 5 miles and under; at 22 miles exists about 99% of the atmosphere, and at 62 miles the atmosphere is so thin that it is a virtual vacuum, and is basically negligible. (The exosphere reaches out though to about to about 6,200 miles, but that's where free moving particles are able to escape the Earth's gravity and get swept away by the solar wind.)
Herr Preyssinger was trying to exhibit this atmospheric density in his illustration #10 to his beautiful astronomical atlas. (I should add here that Preyssinger's work is a very uncommon production, made so that several of the engraved plates coul dbe held up to a solitary light source in a dark room and be illuminated cut-outs in the paper which also had transparent material on the verso to difuse the light...very smart.) His illustration for the atmosphere was very effective, and was set against a plan of the earth made at the equator. I've also included the same plate #10 from a French edition of the same work made slightly later, though the interior of this Earth is colored in a brilliant red.
So when the engraving above was printed in 1862, the balloon ascension record stood at about 5 miles, getting humans to above 70% of the ocean of air.
Relative to humans getting high above the ground, the atmosphere is high; relative to just about everything else--like the 99% at 22 miles compared to the 7,900 or so miles of the Earth's diameter, the atmosphere is but a thin slip. IF we reached that distance down into the Earth, we would just be touching the outer mantle.
Fromt the French edition, printed in 1862, here. French explanation (Astronomie Populaire ou Description des Corps
Celestes, Astronomie Populaire en Tableux Transparents...., published in
1862) of plate X, here.
1. Twelve plates, as follows: Die Central-Sonne und die Ansicht von der Fixsternwelt; Himmelskarte; Darstellung des Sonnensystems; Vergleichende Darstellung der Grösse der Planeten; Die Sonne und verschiedene Erscheinungen derselben; Der Mond durch das Fernrohr gesehen; Transparente Darstellung der Mondsphasen; Finsternisse; Ansicht von den Jahreszeiten; Die Erde und ihre Atomsphäre; Kometen und Aerolithen.
In all that I have seen relating to the mammoth planning and logistical operations concerning teh invasion of Europe by the Allied Forces on 6 June 1944 I don't think I'ev ever seen such incredibly detailed relief map models such as the one below. The original image resides at the Library of Congress and its catalog information describes it on a scale of 1:5,000 and a vertical scale of 1:2,500, with the model being two sections of 120cm squared (so 120x240cm (or about 3x6 feet). THE map "shows the tide lines, slope of the beach, buildings beyond the beach, and the location of hedgehogs" and the placement of anti-aircreaft weapons. The image is very expandable.
These fabulous maps appear in the cartographer/privateer/navigator/explorer Guillaume Testu (1509-1572) Cosmographie universelle, selon les navigateurs tant anciens que modernes / par Guillaume Testu, pillotte en la mer du Ponent, de la ville francoyse de Grâce, which was a manuscript atlas composed in 1555 or so, and found online courtesy of the Bibliotheque Nationale (Gallica). It is extraordinarily rich in design, color, and most significantly in detail, much of which was real.
The work is 118 pages with 57 plates (almost all of which are maps)--I've posted below six world map projections plus a few maps of North America and Central America. And a beautiful wind rose. The rest are available via the previously-mentioned link.
These compelling images belong to Astronomie Populaire ou Description des Corps Célestes, Avec Atlas en Tableaux Transparents, à l'usage des Gens du Monde, which was published in Bruxelles in 1862. The book is surprising, with several of the engravings being laid in, with holes for the interiors of stars and glassine on the back of the plate so that the image can be held up to (candle) light for a better effect of looking at the night sky.
This remarkable map, a bird's-eye perspective view of New York City, was created by Will L. Taylor ("chief draftsman"), and published by Galt & Hoy of New York in 1879. There is a great attempt at representing (all?) buildings in accurate detail, though the Library of Congress notes that the map is not necessarily drawn to scale. The very issue of what seems to be an attempt to show the footprints and perhaps even the elevations of all structures in the city is incredible. I know from experience with a 1910 bird's-eye view of my own small city (Asheville, with a population of about 18,000 in that year) that our houses was drawn in and was shockingly accurate--I imagine with a large enough team of draftspeople that this project might well be possible for NYC.
[Source: the Library of Congress. The original is quite large (188 x 107 cm) and printed on four sheets, and is just superb.]
And a bit more of a detail:
The full map, below, clicakable and downloadable as a 2.5 meg file--its a very lovely thing.
Just yesterday in this blog I made an entry on a very striking, viciously anti-slavery Moral Map of the U.S. It is very red and was printed in 1854, just barely before the great troubles really started to begin in 1856, and it stands on its own as a fine representation of a map-with-a-message. The map below by John F. Smith (Historical Geography) was printed in 1888, and although it was made after slavery it still carried a very strong message--perhaps not as graphic as the 1854 map, but certainly as vehement, and perhaps more-so, with a very heavy dosage of Reconstructionist retribution laced in its text. There is a sense of channels of warm blood flowing through canali of stone altars, a mass on the chest to Huitzliopochtli. It has its own sense of deep danger.
The map is divided North and South by two lightning-like trees, "God's Blessing, Liberty" and "God's Curse, Slavery." The limbs of the tree of Liberty read "Light, Joy, Hope, Faith, Charity, Patience, Benevolence, Philanthropy, Love of Country, Equal Rights, Obedience to Law, Peace, Honor, Truth, Virtue, Sobriety, Industry, Contentment, Free Speech, Knowledge, Free School."
The limbs of the dark, crooked tree of slavery read: "Murder, War, Rebellion, Treason, Secession, Sedition, Superstition, Ignorance, Avarice, Lust" and of course "Hades". these are hosted on the spikes of the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, Fugitive Slave Laws, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dred Scott."
"Hades" might not be that far off, at least for the heat/difficulty index, as this one seems to be located right about at the eastern boundary of the Llano Estacado, which in centuries past was a very highly difficult place to navigate.
This incredible, indelible image is another from our collection of graphical representations of data and ideas. This map, is entitled Moral Map of North America, 1854; (the Slave States are coloued Red, the blighted influence of Slavery is also deeply felt in those parts more slightly streaked with Red). I can find no record of this map, printed obviously by our Brethren across the ocean--that and the fact that it was printed in 1854 is all the publishing data that I can find thus far.
The poem at bottom reads:
United States! Your banner wears Two Emblem one of Fame; Alas! The other it bars Reminds us of your shame. The white man's liberty in types Stands blazoned by your stars; But what's the meaning of your stripes; They mean your Negro-scars.
Reciting this poem by Thomas Campbell before an abolitionist convention in 6 March 1851, William Wells Brown continued (as was reported in the National Anti-Slavery Standard):
"The name of the United States is becoming a hissing and bye-word in the mouths of the inhabitants of every clime. My country is indeed the land of oppression. There is not a rood of territory over which the Stars and Stripes fly, on which William and Ellen Craft or myself could be protected by law. Wherever the American flag is seen flying on the continent of the New World it points us out as slaves; and we enjoy to-night a degree of freedom in your town that we could not if we were in the land of our birth. I often speak of America as my country, but in point of fact I have no country. In the language of one of the noblest of the Negro's champions in the United States. My country is the wide, wide world; My countrymen are all mankind."
Brown should know: his mother was a slave and his father the plantation owner who later granted him his freedom. Brown then worked the underground railroad and much, much more, working with William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. Among his published works included the incredible Clotel, (1853), which was one of the first novels published by an African-American in the U.S., and which discusses in great detail the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave/lover/mistress Sally Hemings.
The map is definitely a tale of morality, showing a definite margin of slavery but also depicting slavery leeching its way through the border states. It is interesting to note that Washington D.C. is represented in red as it was indeed a slave-holding district, with a slave pen right on the Mall in the 1830's.
The most striking feature to me of course is the slave who is lashed hand-and-foot to the flagpole on which the American flag is flying, as this is the only time that I have seen the slave and the flag portrayed as a unit, together, the slave being tortured by the standard of our country.
(Here's another contemporary map depicting the expansion/limitation of slavery from a blog post on the Kansas-Nebraska act on the excellent antiqueprintsblog site, described here):
And this famous map of the United States slave holding region depicting slave ownership by density and by county, which is described in detail (along with pull-outs and expansions at the New York Times website:
"(Francis Bicknell) Carpenter spent the first six months of 1864 in the White House
preparing the portrait (of Lincoln reading the Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet), and on more than one occasion found Lincoln
poring over the map. Though the president had abundant maps at his
disposal, only this one allowed him to focus on the Confederacy’s
greatest asset: its labor system. After January 1, 1863—when the
Emancipation Proclamation became law—the president could use the map to
follow Union troops as they liberated slaves and destabilized the
rebellion." Quote pull from the NYT via Flowing Data.
The Carpenter painting (described in another New York Times piece here, with the map clearly visible at the lower right):
Another fine example of a slavery map showing the details of the institution was made by Adolph von Steinwehr (a cartographer and geographer who would serve as a brigadier general in the Union Army) in 1861:
The data given in the three maps above is great and indispensable, but the first map still perhaps makes the most indelible impression.
A while ago I wrote a post on Herman Soergel's plan for extending the landmass of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea by damming the straits of Gibraltar, lowering the sea and irrigating the Sahara--an original, interesting but not very good idea, filled with briney cultivation and racial politics. In the past on this blog I've written about other city plans--and in particular, for New York City--that have involved floating Manhattan into the harbor, or filling up large chunks of the Narrows, or floating the city on an enormous anti-gravity platform, and so on. Some of those plans were real, some science fiction, and some were plainly beyond both. The plan presented above is another monster, but at least this one could work, if not for the doing of it, and the expense. And the will.
But the bottom line, according to the engineer doing the thinking on this project, Kennard Thomson, would supposedly net the city a cool billion dollars after everything was said and done, and that would be 1916 dollars--that was equal to about 5% of the American GDP (!) in 1916, which would be about $400 billion in terms of 2010 GDP. I'm not sure how Thomson came up with this very big/very round number, though it must have been done for effect--I can just imagine him standing before a smokey room filled with civil engineers talking about his massive plan for enlarging NYC and throwing out the billion-dollar figure, watching the cigars glow red in exhaled disbelief.
Thomson did know what he was talking about--he was a busy (and "leading" according to the NYT) Manhattan civil engineer of stature, working on the Canal Barge and being the principal engineer for the Municipal and Singer buildings, for example--and his project seems to be well within the scope of possibility. Their sensical aspects however are, well, questionable.
Here's the story--around 1911, while examining proposals to repair and extend New York's wharves, Thomson came upon the idea--a magnificent, fabulous idea--of adding new wharves by adding new lands to the city. In short, the overall plan was to fill in the East River (!!) and reclaim the new land for city living, dam Hell Gate, construct a New East River (from Flushing to Jamaica Bay), extend the tip of Manhattan Island from the Battery to within a quarter-mile of Staten Island (!), create a new 40-square-mile island between Sandy Hook and Staten Island, extend the Jersey shoreline, add two new Manhattan-sized appendages to the east shore of Staten Island, and more. All of this would be connected by various new bridges and roads and tunnels, as well as a 6-track elevated railway that would circumnavigate the city. The purpose of all of this would be to add 100 miles of new docks, an enormous amount ("50 square miles of reclaimed land") of new land and the capacity for NYC to house 20+ million people, all of which would be worth a billion dollars.
Thomson really meant "really" in the title for the proposal. There have been reclamation projects undertaken in New York Bay since then of course, and I think that virtually all of what Thomson talked about could be done. I think it would be a very interesting project for a class of some sort to undertake an estimation of what such a thing would cost today (and I would guess to duplicate the idea in real terms now would take up a sizable chunk of the GDP). Maybe all of this will make sense at some more future point.
And along this line of thinking I include a very interesting drawing made by architect Lebbeus Woods, showing the bedrock part of Manhattan. He empties the East River and damns (?) the Hudson, and also builds some new port extending from Staten Island or out from Jersey...but the effect of the dry river bed between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Andthen some--he empties the river, and then deepens/excavates, heightening the depths (?!) of Manhattan Canyon. The depth of the river where we can see it in the drawing is maybe 100 feet, and certainly (judging the depth against the heights of the structures in the lower island) the canyon is deeper than that--maybe an order of magnitude deeper.
I've made a post here before on the location of the Garden of Eating, um, "Eden", here, which I guess might be the ultimate of all Apple Maps, The Big Eat; but I've found these two (below) that are entertaining and probably not interetsing though they are without the overwhelming consequences of the first map. They're just about apples, and not what apples might represent (which I think was an unwieldy way for a Creator of the Universe to test the future of humankind with).
[Source: "Choice Variety of Apples", in American Agriculturist, New York, 1848, vol VII/no. III, page 79.]
And of course the route of Small Things Internally Eating Apples:
[Source:private collection, Tabula Paradisi Terrestris justa Systema Auctoris incisa a P. Stark-Man was
printed late in the 18th century, probably around 1775, and locates the
GOE far in the north country, near the Dead Sea, deep in old Armenia,
near Mount Ararat (where Noe and his family were supposed to have landed
after the creator flooded the world killing everything, where
everything else, young and old, infant younger, men women children,
beasts and ants, were killed by a wrathful OT maker.).]
[Detail of E.W. Happel's map in his Relationes Curiosae (1675), plates 23 in the Peabody Library's The World Encompassed, 1952.]]
I'm not sure how my thinking went from Athanasius Kircher's Earth skeleton to the magnificent Eberhard Werner Happel 1675 world map of ocean currents featuring what might be the largest California ever seen in the history of cartography, but, well, the thinking wound up there, (and this leaving out Bishop Burnett's perfect primordial world egg in the process). This was intended as a simply post following up yesterday's bit in the Blank and Missing Things series relating to California as an island and the missing land mass connecting the non-island to the rest of North America. Nominally California usually appears as a stubby/plump infected-appendix-sized bit either attached/not to the continent, but the California in the Happel (1647-1730, a man of math and medicine) map is larger than the rest of North America from the California gulf to the Atlantic. Of course that also includes all of Alaska and then some imagined lands as well, but, still the mass of it is labelled "California" stands by itself larger than South America, Africa (which looks surprisingly good for the age of the rendering), China (which is very very small) and Russia (which lacks virtually all of Russia east if the Urals). The only land mass that comes close to California's size is the Antarctic regions, which is drawn here as a solid land mass including the scant points of data for New Zealand and Australia and whatever other island was found in southerly South Sea travels, all drawn together and fitted into an enormous continent.
[The full image of the Happel map]
Although there weren't many explorers yet to go up the west coast of North America in 1675, other maps of the period render the coastline in a more accurate way than this. The point of the map, really, is to display what was known of the ocean currents, some of which was correct but a lot of which is not--though it is a very good attempt given the state of the data collection. The source of this map,the Peabody Library's The World Encompassed (1952) calls it the "first chart of ocean currents", which I think is incorrect--and it is here where our favorite 17th century science-Jesuit comes into play, for it is in Athanasius Kircher's Mundus Subterreaneus (1642) that the first map of ocean currents occurs.
[Michael Tramezinus's map of the Western Hemisphere (1534) showing a mostly non-existent western coastline of North America along with a stringy California--but given the time and the available information, it is an excellent map that is not afraid to define unknown lands with a squiggly line. Source, plate 35 from The World Encompassed.]
Kircher is a highly problematic character in the history of science. He is at times wonderful and insightful and creative; at other times he is boring, pedantic, grueling, wrong, fanciful, and stingy with attribution. I'm no Kircher scholar, but it seems to me after al this time that sometimes he writes stuff that he couldn't've meant, that he absolutely knew better than to assert--but there it is, anyway, written as gospel truth (and the Gospels and related religious mythio-stories evidently demanded obedience to their own truths, in which Kircher complies) . This is one of the problems with the Fra Athanasius.
[The full detail of the Tramezinus map.]
In his Mundus Subterraneus Kircher presents the true first map of ocean currents (Tabula Geographico-Hydrographica motus Oceani, currents, abyssos, montes igniuomos in universe orbe indican), some bits being correct and others not so. He rejects the Aristotelian concept of condensation, and figures that the accumulation of snow/rain/dew is simply not enough water to feed the rivers and lakes and oceans, so he devised subterranean oceans and rivers with vast stores of water to feed the waters topside. His hydrophyllaciae is one of four components of an underground Earth that closely coincides with the four elements and with the human condition, much in the tradition of the Medieval body/spirit approach to the understanding of the world system.
[Source: image from the mapseller site of Sebastian Hidalgo Sola, Buenos Aires, here.]
John Edward Fletcher, in his A Study of the Life and Works of Athanasius Kircher, ‘Germanus Incredibilis ..." describes Kircher creating an "Earth Skeleton"which he dresses according to science and ecclesiastical needs, finding a vis spermatica, the launching of all matter from the primeval chaos of primordial Earth. The Mundus addresses this and many other things--it is, in all of this and all of its faults (as Fletcher states), a great repository of all geological knowledge of the time. There is the good with the bad in the Mundus, "a conglomeration of exotic facts and fiction, along with odd scraps of truth and the occasional flash of brilliance" (Fletcher, p. 172), and the ocean currents map is one of those bits.
Kircher undertakes an enormous and probably impossible job in this book, but may actually be kept from getting to the big point by depending upon himself too much. As Fletcher points out (page 171), the Mundus' third edition of 1671 failed to take into account the major advances in fields touching on the book's contents, in particular, the work of Mariotte and Varenius, which was much superior to that of Kircher on the ocean currents, neither of which are discussed or even mentioned in the new edition.
This was a very round-about way of getting to the California-part of the Happel map, but the attribution of the World Encompassed as "the first" of its kind needed to be addressed.
Here's an interesting read on the Kircher/Happel maps: from http://www.coastalguide.com/helmsman/gulf-stream-history-noaa2.shtml
The influence of economic strategy seems to be the Old Red Sandstone of the geology of life on this planet, and sometimes it reaches right into cartography, expressing itself in unusual ways. Such may be the case with the creation of the idea of California beign an island.
[A detail of a sample map showing California as an island, by Nicolas de Fer, 1720, and depicting the famous missing land at the north end of the Gulf of California.]
In general, much of the vast expanse of blankness of the continent in the 16th and 17th century was hidden under ornate Baroque cartouches and their encumbrances, which was a tried-and-true method of taking up space on a map where you didn't (a) really know what was their and (b) didn't want to make stuff up to fill in the white space. By necessity most of North America was unknown to cartographers at this time because, well, there was no reliable information to work with. The far reaches of the middle North American western coastline enjoyed a history of
connectivity with the large land mass that exists east of the Gulf of
California, the region known today as "california" being connected to the rest of the continent from the early 16th century.
About 116 years later, though, cartographic thinking on part of the coast changed. Antonio de la Ascensíon is credited with first giving flight to the idea that the California Peninsula was in fact an island--and so, beginning in 1620, California would frequently make guest appearances on maps as an island. (Fray Antonio was born in Salamanca in 1573/4 and studied there and at the College of Pilots in Seville; he was ordained in the Order of Discalced Carmelites, and sent off to Mexico. As a cosmographer he accompanied Sebastian Vizcaino (1548-1624) on his expedition to California to find a good port for Spanish galleons coming from Manila, which is when Antonio produced his diaries with the famous island maps1.) This map was created during a period where there was heavy competition for trade routes and geographical knowledge was actual currency, so there was some amount of cartographic information that was proprietary. When the abbot's map was lost to/and recovered by the Dutch, the changes that were made to California were codified and published--the Spanish thought it not necessary to correct the misinformation. Perhaps. In any event, it seems plausible that the Spanish crown had no interest in involving itself with what may or may not have been the loss of proprietary information, and so let the island business slide. Until1751, when the King of Spain issued a proclamation saying that California was indeed not an island.
This practice continued to about 1747, when there was more than ample evidence to suggest that the island status of California was erroneous--still, it took several decades for the last of the island-maps to make its appearance.