A historical map is a type of map that represents those places, phenomena or events that existed in a time prior to the date the map was made.
Old maps should not be confused with historical maps. An old map was made in the past and can no longer be used for the purpose for which it was made, as it is an outdated representation. Instead, historical maps are made in the present but represent things from the past.
Historical maps are intended to recreate a political or geographical situation from the past in order to understand the history of a certain geography, culture or region. Due to this, maps of this type are frequently used by teachers in classrooms, since it allows them to optimize the understanding of an event through cartography.
For example, if a teacher is teaching classes on the ancient Roman Empire, he can use a historical map to show his students the territories that were under the rule of this culture.
Broadly speaking, historical maps show a region of the world as it was in times past. Likewise, they can be focused on offering certain information about the mapped area, such as exploration routes, trade routes, decrease or increase of an empire, changes in the limits, among other aspects.
Characteristics of historical maps
– Historical maps are characterized by using a special code, made up of signs and symbols. Generally, these symbols do not have a specific regulation of use, so their code will be subject to the style of whoever elaborates them.
– Historical maps are studied by historical cartography; a discipline that comes from cartography and that is dedicated to the analysis of historical events that occurred in certain geographies.
– These maps can have a political, geographical, economic, cultural and even patriotic purpose, since they allow certain citizens to develop empathy for the territorial unit that comprises their nation.
– It is believed that these maps began to be used from 1807, when the historian Jean-François Champollion presented to the Academy of Grenoble the recreation of a map of Ancient Egypt. After this, the use of historical maps increased with the arrival of the 20th century and today they are used in all parts of the world and for various reasons.
What is a historical map for?