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A cartographic history of Caribbean islands

Caribmap is a mobile-friendly resource for exploring historical map images of Caribbean islands. The site has evolved since 1999 and now presents images of approximately 1800 maps of the islands printed over five centuries (16th–20th). This is still a small sampling of the thousands of different maps that were printed. The high resolution of most map images allows visitors to zoom in on details, including place names of historical and scientific importance. After selecting an island, all map images of that island appear in chronological order above the viewing area, and can be browsed. Clicking on a thumbnail loads the image into the larger viewing area and displays the map information at left. Once loaded, zooming in on the image is possible by controls that appear below the image viewing area, or simply by clicking with your mouse or rolling the mouse wheel. Bibliographic information appears below each map image. Map size is give in centimeters (height x width). The map medium is given, although it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a copperplate from a good lithograph map, especially during the early 1800s when the two formats overlapped. Please alert us if you find any errors. A resources page provides links to online cartographic tools, including other sites containing map images of Caribbean islands. A literature page presents relevant literature references for Caribbean cartography.

This is a non-profit site created and directed by a scientist, Blair Hedges, who is solely responsible for the content. Web designer/developer Mandy Hippenstiel and graphics artist Megan Powell assisted with the design and development. The Google Earth video used in the map tours was produced with a grant from Google Earth Outreach. We accept donations of maps and map images, although the latter should be scanned at high resolution (e.g., 600 dpi) so that all place names are visible. Credits for images are displayed with the map information. Contact the director for details.

This article describes the function and potential research uses of Caribmap:

Hedges SB. 2013. Caribmap: a mobile-friendly web resource for Caribbean maps that facilitates quantitative historical analysis. Journal of Map and Geography Libraries 9:350-360. This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript; the published version is available online at the journal website.

Copyright information: Caribmap is intended for educational purposes. This site and all graphical items, including map images and videos, are copyrighted. In addition, see credits for the owner of each map image. Duplication or distribution without permission, through commercial use or otherwise, of any content is strictly prohibited. The application of copyright law to images, including scanned images of maps and artwork, is frequently misunderstood. Maps older than 1923 or those produced by the U.S. government are not under copyright, but this only means that a person is free to scan an original document themselves, assuming they can locate that document and obtain permission to scan it, and use the resulting scanned image. It does not mean that a person has the right to take someone else's scan of that document, on the web (for example), without permission. Doing so would be a violation of the copyright protecting the web site content, regardless of the age or copyright protection of the documents shown in the images. If you wish to receive permission to use an image, please ask the web site director (additional or other permissions may be necessary depending on the owner of the image). Although use of the information in research is encouraged, contact the author for permission before undertaking any broad, comprehensive analyses of these data.

Includes maps used by pirates of the Caribbean.


additional map images