16th-Early 20th Century Maps of Africa
This collection features digital copies of 113 antique maps of Africa and accompanying text dating from the mid-16th Century to the early 20th Century. All scanned maps are authentic and originally collected by the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies. Melville J. Herskovits established Northwestern University's Program of African Studies in 1948 (the first of its kind at a major research university in the United States). The Herskovits Library, formally created as a separate library in 1954, has since its inception collected maps that describe Africa from their earliest appearance to the most current. Map area coverage includes the continent, regions (particularly North Africa and Algeria), islands (particularly Madagascar), and a few city plans. All of these maps are loose items, though many have been excised from published atlases. Some of the highlights of the digital collection are: a series of Ptolemic maps of North Africa by Ruscelli, ca. 1565; Forlani: Africa , 1562; Mercator: Africa, 1595; Blaeu: Æthiopia ca. 1650 (a Prester John map); Carey: Africa, 1795 (first map of Africa published in the United States), Arrowsmith: Africa, 1802 (notable for its large dimensions, 124 x 145 cm.), a series of Algerian maps published by the French government in the mid-1800's, and maps by other notable cartographers, such as Hondius, Jansson, de Jode, de L'Isle, Ortelius, Sanson, and de Wit. The original maps are kept and maintained in the map collection in the Government & Geographic Information Collection. We welcome questions, comments, and suggestions concerning any aspect of this digital collection, particularly with regards to provenance. Other antique maps from the Herskovits Library which were not included in this digital collection are either duplicate copies or other editions, such as French government sets covering Algeria.
The images on this web site, from maps in the collection of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies and housed in the Government & Geographic Information Collection of Northwestern University Libraries are in the public domain in the United States, and as such, not subject to copyright restriction. The Libraries request users cite both the URL and Northwestern University Libraries if they wish to reproduce images from the repository. For access to higher resolution images please contact email@example.com ; NO COPYRIGHT - UNITED STATES