“A map of the icy sea in which the several communications with the land waters and other new discoveries are exhibited,” from Gentleman’s magazine, v.30, June 1760. NYPL’s geospatial librarian Matt Knutzen observes: “One of the really cool things about this map of the North Pole is the Arctic hadn’t really been explored to any great degree, and yet there was still a lot of optimism about an ice-free Northwest Passage. You can see here that there is a great north sea that appears. It's very interesting because the land masses are not very well known; you can see that Greenland is connected to the Northwestern Continent and there is no passage between Baffin Bay and the North Sea. This is an interesting map that shows a kind of speculative cartography. In the later part of the 18th century though, speculation becomes less prominent in maps as information from explorers fills in the blank areas with known discoveries. This map still indicates the idea that maybe there is a Northwest Passage and perhaps we could explore it. This map is a nice incentive for that exploration. It’s also a beautiful, cheerfully colored, and interesting little round format map. Such a map projection is unusual for maps outside of the polar regions because it’s the only way to cogently depict the poles.” NYPL, Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division


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