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Cartes et cartographies dans le monde anglophone aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles

Cartography and Narrative in the Maps of Herman Moll’s The World Described

Alex Zukas

Résumés

Herman Moll (c. 1654-1732) était le cartographe le plus renommé de Grande-Bretagne au début du 18e siècle, et son grand atlas sur double page, Le Monde décrit, dont la première édition date de 1709, enrichi du vivant de Moll et même après sa mort, fut l’atlas en format folio le plus important de son temps. Alors que les historiens, tel Dennis Reinhartz, ont étudié la présence des cartes de Moll dans des textes encyclopédiques de géographie comme l’ Atlas Geographus ou les récits de boucaniers comme Un Voyage autour du monde de William Dampier et Un Voyage en bateau autour du monde de Woodes Rogers, ainsi que des œuvres de fiction, tels Robinson Crusoe de Daniel Defoe et Les Voyages de Gulliver de Jonathan Swift, ils n’ont pas pris en compte le fait que le récit fait partie intégrante des cartes de Moll dans Le Monde décrit. Or, de nombreux notes et commentaires, mais également des images, des encarts et des vues, construisent un cadre narratif dans lequel lire les cartes de Moll, qui reflétaient clairement les préoccupations scientifiques, artistiques, politiques, diplomatiques, militaires et économiques de son époque. Cet article investigue les interactions entre la ligne, l’image et le texte dans une sélection de cartes de Moll et détaille comment ces cartes combinaient des dimensions relevant de l’exactitude scientifique, de l’entreprise lucrative et du bien de la nation afin de constituer un récit défendant l’entreprise impériale britannique et mettant en avant les intérêts économiques, politiques et territoriaux britanniques dans une période d’intenses rivalités impériales.

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Introduction

  • 1 The David Rumsey Map Center notes, “This is Moll's most impressive atlas, although it is largely ju (...)
  • 2 For a discussion of the practice of intentional reading see Abbott, Introduction, 86,102-103: “…the (...)

1Herman Moll (c. 1654-1732) was the most “celebrated geographer and mapmaker” in early 18th-century Britain (Reinhartz 1) and his large double-sheet atlas, The World Described, first published in 1709 and expanded during Moll’s lifetime and even after his death, “was the most important folio atlas of its day” (British Library).1 While Dennis Reinhartz has discussed the presence of Moll’s maps in encyclopedic geography texts like Atlas Geographus (28-30, 38-39), in buccaneering narratives like William Dampier’s (c. 1651-1715) A Voyage Round the World (75-80, 83) and Woodes Rogers’ (c. 1679-1732) A Cruising Voyage Round the World (75, 82-83), and in fictional texts like Daniel Defoe’s (c. 1660-1731) Robinson Crusoe (88) and Jonathan Swift’s (1667-1745) Gulliver’s Travels (92-94), neither he nor John Crowley, in his recent article on The World Described, have discussed to any extent the narrative qualities of Moll’s maps in that atlas. Moll’s maps were well known in his day for their aesthetic quality, balanced composition, and integration of striking visual, graphic, and verbal elements (Reinhartz 27, 34, 37, 43-44). Attending to the narrative qualities and coherence of Moll’s maps enriches our understandings of them as cultural artifacts and helps us by their indexicality (their explicit links to other social, political, economic, and cultural narratives circulating at the time) to see them in the larger context of early 18th-century Britain in which Moll worked and sold his maps. The qualities involved narrative substance and narrative discourse (Sturgess): the stories that Moll conveyed in his maps and how he conveyed them. In terms of narrative discourse, I maintain that understanding the stories told in Moll’s maps did not rely on “causal momentum” or a specific prearranged sequence of signifiers to create a logic of narrativity (as argued by Sturgess 56-57, 87, 234). In analyzing the narrative qualities of Moll’s maps, this article is informed by developments in narrative theory that postulate the active construction of narrative by readers (Abbott 21; Alison 17), posit a great degree of authorial control (Abbott 21; Alison 19), do not privilege linear narrative or plot (Abbott 34-35), see narrative as “the organization of a set of cues for the construction of a story” (Bordwell 62), understand that all narratives contain gaps that readers need to fill to make sense of the story (Abbott 96-97), and replace narrative temporal sequence with juxtaposition or association that forms a network of sense (Alison 20, 189-90, 202-203, 229). My analysis relies on an intentional reading of Moll’s maps, one that starts from a reasonable assumption, given the time, labor, and precision that went into their production and Moll’s own notations on the maps regarding his professional diligence, that he did not compile and engrave his maps haphazardly or accidentally but quite intentionally.2

2Given their format and indexicality, this article contends that Moll’s maps produced a non-linear, non-sequential story that readers could decode. The order in which the reader approached and understood the maps’ signifiers was not important. What was important was that the reader engaged all the key signifiers and brought them together. As with Roland Barthes’ ideal text with its multiple access points, reversibility, internal networks, and galaxy of signifiers (5), map readers can begin perusing a map where they like, without privileging certain texts, lines, or images, but Moll deployed specific visual prompts (signposts) and the graphical architecture of centers, edges, and corners to lure readers to focus on key narrative components as they read his maps and pieced together the stories they told. While there is not a well-developed theory of narrativity in maps, historian of cartography Denis Wood has explained ways to apply semiotic analysis to draw out and understand the stories maps tell with their presentational codes (81) because “cartographic sign systems are typified by connectivity… Their elements link up, abut, cradle, or nest within one another” (103) such that Moll’s notations and comments, along with images, insets, and views, can be seen as presenting a framework for reading the map.

  • 3 While this article follows Wood in his contention that maps are sign systems open to semiotic analy (...)

3So what stories did Moll’s maps tell? In terms of narrative substance, this article maintains that they highlighted English derring-do and the plunder of enemy empires, the promotion of Anglo-British imperial expansion and capital accumulation, the role of science in constructing maps, the organization of world space into competing sovereign states, and the entanglement of public and personal benefit. Diverging from Wood’s central purpose,3 this article examines the interplay of line, word, and image in selected Moll maps and argues that, taken together, these discursive elements combined appeals to scientific accuracy, profitable enterprise, and national advantage “on the common [sign] plane of the map” (Wood 1-2) that created an overarching story in support of British imperial endeavors that foregrounded the foreign economic, political, and territorial interests of British elites (Lane, 96-184, 199-202; O’Brien, 53-77; Price, 78-104; Stern Company-State 41-50, 142-63, 185-214) in an age of fierce imperial rivalries (Furber 31-145, 185-229; Parker, 13-67; Burbank and Cooper 117-218; Streets-Salter and Getz 107-41, 171-95; Plank 203-42).

Moll’s 1709 Double-Hemisphere World Map: Science in the Service of Sovereignty, Expansion, and Capital Accumulation

Fig. 1: A New and Correct Map of the World, Laid Down According to the Newest Discoveries and from the most Exact Observations. By Herman Moll, Geographer (1732. orig. 1709).

Fig. 1: A New and Correct Map of the World, Laid Down According to the Newest Discoveries and from the most Exact Observations. By Herman Moll, Geographer (1732. orig. 1709).

G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>

4The 1709 and 1720 editions of Moll’s atlas opened with a double-hemisphere world map. Its overall appearance and stereoscopic projection would be familiar to readers since the base map Moll used was one he engraved for Dampier’s 1697 A Voyage Round the World, which sold out regularly and went through several editions in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Dampier’s first circumnavigating voyage remained on this map, linking it and his subsequent voyages to a public narrative of English derring-do, capital accumulation, and the plunder of enemy empires before, during, and after the War of the Spanish Succession (A History; A View; Hacke; Wafer). The map was packed with visual and textual information. The presence of so many circular images conveyed an impression of geometric precision to the map viewer. Within the circular frame around the two central hemispheres, Moll noted degrees of latitude and the various climactic zones associated with them; where lines of longitude intersected the Equator, he recorded how many degrees east of Ferro Island they lay. Moll had the prime meridian run through Ferro Island, rather than London (Greenwich), to get all of Africa in the eastern hemisphere. A curved line that touched the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and crossed the Equator where the hemispheres met represented, schematically, the Sun’s seasonal position in relation to the Earth’s surface.

5Not satisfied with the appearance of scientific rigor, Moll recounted his map’s scientific foundation in a long notation underneath the western hemisphere:

This Map is very carefully laid down, from ye newest Observations, and unquestionable Authorities; most, if not all, of which have been approved by ye Royal Society here in London, the Royal Academy of Paris, and many curious Gentlemen of other Nations. It begins its Longitude at ye same place with those of Mr. Sanson, whose Maps have been condemned, and found to be notoriously false, even by ye Royal Academy, and others of his own Country; mention whereof has been often made in ye Philosophical Transactions (published here). The faint Line, which you will find, to ye East of C. St. Augustine, C. de Bonne Esperance, Iapan, &c. shew’s how much he is mistaken in his Longitude And in his Latitudes, you will find him frequently 2, 3, 5, nay 7 Degrees out, and indeed scarce right in any […] of them; which being visible enough (to prevent confusion) there is no mark of ye Difference set down. [The part after the ellipsis was continued under the eastern hemisphere.]

6Here he contrasted his map’s authoritative scientific grounding against the world map of Nicolas Sanson, the deceased royal cartographer of France, whose much-admired world map the French Royal Academy concluded was in error with regard to the latitudinal and longitudinal location of islands and continents. Not satisfied with this written condemnation, drawing faint lines off Japan, the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa, and Cape St. Augustine in northern Brazil, Moll enlisted the visuality of his map to leave no doubt that Sanson had South America, South Africa, and Japan far to the east of their locations as understood in the early 18th century. In this notation, which involved description, commentary, and explanation, Moll set up a dramatic tension between a (domestic) hero (himself) and a (foreign) villain (Sanson). Intending to provoke outrage, Moll deployed text and line to convince consumers that his map was a technically superior commodity and worth the purchase price. Public, personal, scientific, and promotional narratives converged here but Moll, the engraver, geographer, and petty capitalist, was not done.

7In a number of extended notations, Moll fashioned a narrative link between science, mapping, public benefit, and his personal (mis)fortune. Underneath the eastern hemisphere he composed a story about Dutch cartographers who copied his maps and sold them in England under other names to their profit and his financial and reputational loss:

As for ye Dutch Maps all of ‘em yet extant, are much alike, and far enough from Correctness. Now it being a great hazard we run in Undertakings of this nature, and we labouring under ye frequent hardships, of having our Maps Copy’d upon us in Holland &c. brought ever hither, publickly advertised and sold under other names, to their Profit, and to ye manifest defrauding of us, as well in point of Reputation, as otherwise; to prevent this evil Practice, as much as in us lyes, we propose to go on gradually with ye four Quarters &c. at ye Subscriptions of 1 Shilling 6 pence a Piece, to be paid only upon delivery; with which incouragement to a reasonable number, we hope to oblige ye World with a correct Set, that nothing, as yet extant, can parallel; of which the new Map is a Specimen.

8In this notation he told a personal story couched as a morality tale with a potentially happy ending in which honest subscribers (or those just interested in having accurate maps) will pay him a shilling and six pence to defray his costs and allow him to accumulate enough capital as “incouragement” to overcome “great hazard” and “frequent hardships” and to continue producing trustworthy maps for their use. Inviting his readers to engage the map directly, to the left of the polar projection at the top of the map he explained that the slightly darkened regions around the equator indicated the area of the equatorial trade winds:

In this Map is inserted A View of the General or Coasting TRADE-WINDS, MONSOONS or the Shifting Trade-Winds. Note that the Arrows among the Lines shew the Course of these General & Coasting Winds, and the Arrows in the void Spaces shew the Course of the Shifting TRADE-WINDS, and the abbreviations Sept. &c. Shew the Times of the Year when such Winds blow.

9Labels and directional arrows in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the South China Sea indicated the six months when the monsoons blew in one direction and then the six months they blew in the opposite direction. To reassure his readers yet again of his diligence and professional scruples as a geographer and mapmaker, to the right of the polar projection Moll noted

That ye Curious must not attribute to ignorance or negligence that some Islands are not to be found in this as in other Maps, such as St. Maria d’Aoust, Martin Vaz, dos Picos, and St. Helena Nova in the Atlantick Ocean & several others in the Eastern; since some of the most Scrutinous, of the present Age, have made it their Busines [sic] (if Possible) to give us a better account of them, but I could never as yet find out any such Islands.

10All of this information, including the rectified location of continents and islands, the direction of the trade winds, the timing of monsoons, and the exclusion of non-existent islands, relayed the story of Moll’s scientific credentials and the trustworthiness of his maps to his clients – politicians, seafarers, merchants, and investors – and the lines and arrows conveyed the impression that the world’s oceans, while physically separating the world’s land masses, actually facilitated movement of people, goods, and capital between them, especially if one knew their true location in terms of longitude and latitude.

  • 4 The “Land of the Negroes or Blacks” (a translation of the Arabic “Sudan”) and what looked like divi (...)
  • 5 See Jodocus Hondius’ 1617 double-hemisphere world map. It identified the five borderless regions as (...)
  • 6 One of the first maps to delineate colonial borders in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia was H (...)

11Besides lines of latitude and longitude, Moll also drew the outlines of continents and borderlines within them. Following his cartographic sources, Moll neatly divided the globe into territorial units with clear boundaries but the criteria for drawing the boundaries were unclear. The boundaries in Europe and those of the Ottoman Empire, Persia, Mughal India, and China were roughly those of contemporary imperial states (the exceptions were “Germany” and “Italy” in Europe which were cultural rather than political entities), and borders in North America reflected Spanish, British, and French colonial claims, but the borderlines running east-west in West Africa (Barbary, Biledulgerid, the Sahara Desert, Negroland, and Guinea) were based on ethnicity, topography, and race rather than state sovereignty. Despite his unequivocal criticism of Sanson, like many other mapmakers, Moll followed Sanson’s visual model for double-hemisphere world maps.4 Earlier double-hemisphere world maps had five regional names in West Africa but they blended into each other and, like colonies identified in the Americas, were not marked off by borders.5 It seems that including the borders for European colonies in the Americas on double-hemisphere world maps inspired placing borders in other parts of the world in order to keep the imperial visual motif intact.6 Moll’s maintaining these bordered divisions in Africa likely served two purposes: narratively, they kept intact the map’s key visual motif first deployed by Sanson that entities resembling sovereign states and empires dominated the earth’s surface and, aesthetically, they prevented a giant unbordered region near the cartographic center of the map. As engraved, the map emphasized the spatial distribution of assertions of sovereignty, especially that of Britain and its imperial rivals in various parts of the world.

Fig. 2: Detail from A New and Correct Map of the World, Laid Down According to the Newest Discoveries and from the most Exact Observations. By Herman Moll, Geographer. (1732. orig. 1709).

Fig. 2: Detail from A New and Correct Map of the World, Laid Down According to the Newest Discoveries and from the most Exact Observations. By Herman Moll, Geographer. (1732. orig. 1709).

G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>

12Given its location, the dedicatory cartouche carried great visual weight and sustained the imperialist and expansionist narrative of the map. Instead of lying between the hemispheres at the top of the map of the map near Britain where one might expect it to reside given the dedication to King George II, it lay between the hemispheres at the bottom of the map where it abutted the open waters of the southern oceans. Placed there rather than near Britain, the viewer could easily imagine Britain’s reach stretching across the oceans. Surrounding the cartouche, Poseidon/Neptune, the Greco-Roman god of the sea, held aloft on his trident - the symbol of his power over land and sea - a standard emblazoned with English, French, Scottish and Irish royal symbols. At a symbolic and discursive level, the god became a standard bearer of British dominion and legitimized the projection of British power over all the world’s seas. To reinforce the message, two fleets with their sterns to the viewer and sheets to the wind dominated the horizon. The whole effect was to proclaim British dominance over the seas, the circulatory system of long-distance trade, investment, and empire. The historian C. N. G. Clarke called cartouches “icons of possession” (455-64) and we can see how the cartouche worked in this map to reinforce an overarching story involving navigation, expansion, and control.

13In terms of overall map design, Moll understood the power of centers, edges, and corners to attract the eye and he put some of his most important visual and textual elements there. Each hemisphere had empty space on its periphery that moved the viewer’s eye to the edges of the map where Moll had the title cartouche, key notations, and smaller circles that displayed the Ptolemaic and Copernican solar systems in the upper corners and the Sun, Moon, and planets along the bottom edge, locating the earthly hemispheres with their maritime spaces and terrestrial political divisions in a larger cosmos. Moll’s extended title (under Image 1) gave readers major hints concerning what to appreciate in the map: its overall correctness, exactness, and newness.

Moll’s 1719 Mercator-Projection World Map: Voyaging, Risk, and Profitable Enterprise

Fig. 3: A New & Correct Map of the Whole World Shewing ye Situation of its Principal Parts… 1719.

Fig. 3: A New & Correct Map of the Whole World Shewing ye Situation of its Principal Parts&#x2026; 1719.

G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>

14The second map in his 1720 atlas was A New & Correct Map of the Whole World. Its full title narratively highlighted its key contents and his professional diligence:

A New & Correct Map of the Whole World Shewing ye Situation of its Principal Parts. Viz ye Oceans, Kingdoms, Rivers, Capes, Ports, Mountains, Woods, Trade-Winds Monsoons, Variations of ye Compass, Climats, &c. With the most Remarkable Tracts of the Bold Attempts which have been made to Find out the North East and North West Passages. The Projection of this Map is call’d Mercator’s the Design is to make it Useful for Land and Sea. And it is laid down with all possible care, According to the Newest and Most Exact Observations.

15With this lengthy title, Moll signaled to his readers what aspects of the map they should regard closely if they wanted to decipher the story he embedded in its sign plane. They could take these aspects or postings (Wood 53-56) in any order they pleased. It would not affect the map’s overall narrative or its indexicality. Like his double-hemisphere world map, this planisphere map showed the presence and direction of the equatorial/tropical trade winds and monsoons (the darkened area around the equator). Taking advantage of the Mercator projection, Moll placed a scale of English leagues and instructions along the bottom edge of the map below the island of Madagascar that explained to the map reader how to gauge the distance in English leagues between any two points on the map. Directly below the title cartouche Moll engraved an inset chart that reproduced a map published by Halley in 1702 which showed lines of magnetic compass variation in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans from the prime meridian in London, information that could be valuable to sailors and merchants engaged in overseas commerce. Below the inset, at about 13 degrees north latitude, Moll engraved the 1710 buccaneering travels of Woodes Rogers and William Dampier from Cabo San Lucas to Guam, linking his map to Rogers’ popular account of their journey to plunder Spanish shipping during the War of the Spanish Succession, A Cruising Voyage Round the World (1712). On his journey across the Pacific, Rogers recorded compass variations from the London meridian which Moll showed by means of small compasses on the route that noted the magnetic variation. Together, map and inset identified the magnetic compass variations on the world’s major oceans. Since the Mercator projection had the unique property of representing any course of constant compass bearing as a straight line, map readers could pull together signifiers on the map in the form of wind patterns, magnetic compass variations, and distance gauges and easily form a story that foregrounded the accessibility and navigability of the world’s oceans in various climactic and meteorological conditions. Moll’s featuring various kinds of applied science in relation to navigating the mapped surface of a terra-aqueous world was also a savvy narrative device.

16That did not mean that sailing the open ocean for the purposes of long-distance trade, investment, and empire was not without risks. To drive that story home, Dampier’s successful, if extended, circumnavigation of the Earth was not on this map. Instead, Moll engraved the routes of several mariners in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries who searched for a northwest or a northeast oceanic passage to Asia with generally calamitous results. A solid black line traced the route of Arthur Pet (fl. 1570s-1580s) and Charles Jackman (d. 1580) who sailed north and east from London in 1580 while a dotted line indicated the route of Willem Barents (c. 1550-1597) who sailed in the same direction from Amsterdam in 1596. All three headed northeast through the Arctic Circle but got no further east than the island of Nova Zembla due to the sea ice that blocked their route. On their return voyage, Pet’s and Jackman’s ships were separated in a storm. While Pet continued to London, Jackman and his crew overwintered in northern Norway. They sailed for England in February 1581 but never arrived at their destination and were presumed lost at sea (“Polar Regions”). Going round the northern tip of Nova Zembla, Barents’ expedition wintered on its eastern shore in 1596 but were unable to continue eastward in the spring. Barents and several crew members died on the ship’s return to the Netherlands in 1597 (Braat 473-80). Moll also traced Henry Hudson’s (c. 1565–1611) route from England to North America in 1610, his exploration of Hudson Bay to find a northwest passage to Asia, his winter quarters at the southern end of James Bay, and the return course of his ship and greatly diminished crew who barely made it to Ireland. Hudson’s crew mutinied when he wanted to continue to search for a northwest passage to Asia. Marooned with eight others, including his son, Hudson and the men were never seen again (Delgado 35-40; Mancall).

  • 7 All the toponyms in this paragraph were on Moll’s map.

17The fourth voyage Moll engraved on this map was Thomas James’ (1593-1635). It was the one voyage shown on the map that did not end in complete disaster but gave rise to a harrowing and cautionary tale of determination, hardship, and derring-do, The Strange and Dangerous Voyage of Captaine Thomas James published in 1633, which was widely read and quickly became part of English folklore (Franklin, xxxiii-lx). Sailing from Bristol in 1631, James entered Hudson Bay and traveled south along its western shoreline into James Bay where he overwintered on Charleton Island. With his ship about to be destroyed by ice floes, he and his crew sank the ship in November, survived the winter by hunting and constructing shelters, refloated the ship in June 1632, and reached Bristol in October. He named the west shore of James Bay “New South Wales” after his homeland and Cape Henrietta Maria at the entrance to James Bay after the wife of King Charles I (Delgado 45-40). Chastened by his “strange and dangerous voyage,” he gave a bleak assessment of the prospects of finding and exploiting a northwest passage to Asia and criticized the notion that the Straits of Anian7 in the Pacific Northwest of America, shown on maps like Moll’s, were a likely Pacific-Ocean terminus of a northwest passage from the Atlantic Ocean as something

fabled by some Portuguese […] For my part, I give no credit to them at all… making sea where there is known to be mainland: and land, where there is nothing but Sea. Most certain it is, that by the only industry of our own Nation, those Northern parts of America have been discovered, to the Latitude of 80 degrees and upwards. And this hath been so curiously done (the labours of several men being joined together) that the mainland hath been seen and searched; and they have brought this supposed passage to this pass: that it must be to the North, of 66 degrees latitude. A cold Clime, pestered with Ice, and other discommodities… Now most probable is that there is no passage… But let us (by way of imagination only) enlarge this Straight, in this latitude; and free it of Ice: yet what advantage […] will be gotten by this passage […]? (James 107-109, spelling modernized)

18James answered his question by noting that he saw no commercial opportunities in any of the North American places he encountered during his voyage and he concluded that northern Asia would present a similarly grim geographic and meteorological situation and that a northwest passage, if it existed at all, would not be a quicker route to trade with the East Indies than the ones already used (James 110). Since educated Britons would know these stories of failed exploration, Moll counted on his readers to fill in details, create links across the map, and associate the tale with a contemporary 18th-century company-state capitalist enterprise.

19While mariners heeded James’ warning in his very popular tale for more than a generation after his death, investors of a new, well-capitalized company were able to exploit a commercial opportunity not on James’ horizon: the natural and animal resources of the region. In 1668 an English vessel entered Hudson Bay to establish a fur-trading post on behalf of the soon-to-be founded Hudson Bay Company, incorporated by royal charter in 1670. A company-state like the English East India Company, functioning as the de facto government in the northern reaches of North America, it was not particularly interested in looking for a northwest passage until the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) recognized Britain’s and the company’s claim to the region. Moll showed the location of the Company’s two main forts on this world map: Fort Nelson (also known as Fort York), the Company’s most important and northerly post on the western shore of Hudson Bay, and Fort Rupert on the southernmost shore of James Bay. The voyages memorialized on this world map had contemporary relevance and poignancy. The men the company sent to reestablish its forts in 1719, the year Moll published this map, were also interested in finding the reputed Northwest Passage, mineral wealth (gold), and the Straits of Anian but their search ended in their deaths (Delgado 50-52; Williams xv-xvi, 3-29). Despite the clear hazards, expeditions to find a Northwest Passage were mounted in Moll’s lifetime and after (Williams 3-236). While the voyages of Pet, Jackman, and Barents were unmitigated disasters, the voyages of Hudson and James, despite their immediate lack of results and cautionary outcomes, opened the way for corporate profitability in the far north of North America in Moll’s day (Bown 9-105).

Fig. 4: Detail from A New & Correct Map of the Whole World Shewing ye Situation of its Principal Parts… 1719.

Fig. 4: Detail from A New & Correct Map of the Whole World Shewing ye Situation of its Principal Parts&#x2026; 1719.

G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>

  • 8 It was rare for men to represent the four main continents allegorically in the early-modern period. (...)

20The title cartouche of this map, designed by Louis Chéron and engraved by Elisha Kirkall, continued, in figurative form, the map’s unsettling narrative motif of derring-do, risk, and reward. Juxtaposed figures and symbols in the cartouche encouraged readers to generate a story. What is immediately striking in the allegorical field created by the cartouche is that male figures dominated the scene. Men rather than women represented the four continents allegorically and all were armed.8 Standing in classical Greco-Roman poses, the continents had become masculinized and militarized after several centuries of intercontinental and international warfare. In comparing all four figures, the European and the Turk were the most richly dressed, expressing an upper-class standing that gave them access to an opulent material culture. They were seated at ease, perhaps an indication of their greater authority, holding banners with Christian and Muslim icons, the cross and the crescent, emphasizing cultural and imperial rather than racial differences and conflicts. The sparsely clothed Native American and African stood. Chéron depicted America and Africa here as “noble savages,” a favored cultural motif of 17th- and 18th-century European elites (Cro; Ellingson; Harvey). The European was dressed anachronistically as a Roman soldier, an unmistakably European cultural symbol of imperial expansion, and was the only figure who looked directly at the viewer. These attributes cast Europe as a bold, expansionist, and imperialist continent. Visually, the “noble savages” were on the fringes of the scene while the religiously and culturally divided, belligerent, and imperialist “civilized and cultured” world occupied the center. The allegorical figures of America and Asia pointed down to the map below. In this way, the viewer was invited to imagine these peoples inhabiting the bordered landscape engraved on the map.

21Above the four figures was an allegorical scene that referred to different, if not incompatible, European cultural traditions. At the top of the cartouche was the Tetragrammaton (the Hebrew letters for Yahweh), a non-representational way to invoke God that Protestants preferred. The letters radiated in a sunburst that symbolized the Judeo-Christian god as the source of illumination and power that descended to the figures below. To the left a male figure in robes with a long beard, perhaps a Greek philosopher or lawmaker, sat on the ground with a quill writing in a book. His left hand rested on an Ouroboros or “tail-eating snake,” a pagan symbol of eternal return and nature’s cycles of rebirth. To the right stood the Roman goddess Fortuna who was dispensing wealth, sovereignty, and subordination, symbolized by a cornucopia, a crown, and shackles, to eager and agitated supplicants who stood below her with outstretched arms. She rested her foot on an orb, the symbol of sovereign dominion. She was the only female figure in the cartouche. This syncretic scene presented a cosmological hierarchy where the Old Testament God’s power, laws, and providence were mediated by a pagan Greco-Roman male figure representing reason and a pagan female goddess representing good and bad luck. Symbols of knowledge, trade, war, money, power, and pain bound the world together and implied that the Judeo-Christian god oversaw - if not endorsed - it all and that fickle Fortune played as much a role in human fate as omniscient divine Providence. An alternative and somewhat less unsettling and disturbing interpretation, and one in line with the undertaking of risky voyages and the increasing interest of educated Britons in the role of risk, chance, and probability (also known as gambling) in their lives (Dillon 384-401), would be that Chéron created a visual allegory of Leibniz’s contention in his 1710 book, Theodicy, that a benevolent Judeo-Christian god mitigated the contingent nature of life by exercising providential care, choosing the best outcomes among contingencies created by people or nature leading to “the best of all possible worlds,” and one in which an expansive Britain would find its rightful place, including in unlikely places like northern North America. In either case, the reader could relate the cartouche to other key signifiers on the map and to their real-world referents and readily construct a story that, in a world of highly competitive and belligerent states, overseas ventures involved great risk and peril but potentially great territorial gains and corporate rewards as well.

Moll’s 1715 Map of the East Indies: Commerce, Commodities, and Imperial Competition

Fig. 5: A Map of the East-Indies and the adjacent Countries… (c. 1732).

Fig. 5: A Map of the East-Indies and the adjacent Countries… (c. 1732).

G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>

22Much of this story continued in the fifth map in Moll’s 1720 atlas, “A Map of the EAST-INDIES,” whose dedicatory cartouche on the right edge of the map clearly functioned as an icon of possession. Moll dedicated the map to the Directors of the British East India Company, a company-state that was slowly accumulating a commercial and territorial empire in South Asia (Stern, 19-40, 61-82, 185-214), and bluntly announced that the map located “Settlements, Factories, and Territories, explaining what belongs to England, Spain, France, Holland, Denmark, Portugal, &c with many Remarks not extant in any other Map.” Beyond the handsomely engraved landforms, one’s eye is captured by the vast oceanic spaces and the notations (“Remarks”) in them as well as by the strikingly large inset views along the left edge of the map. The insets depicted five major entrepôts in India and the Malay Archipelago. From the top they were Bantam (Dutch), Goa (Portuguese), Surat (Mughal), Madras (British), and Batavia (Dutch). Their dominant features were 1) fortifications to assert political control and to safeguard commerce and property and 2) ready access to the sea as the ships lying offshore made clear. Occupying nearly one-quarter of the sign plane of the map, they emphasized political and economic order, protection, and contestation at the far reaches of empire (Furber 31-145, 185-229; Risso 296-309, 316-19; Bryant 1-33; Veevers 135-273; Stern “British India”).

23Crowley claims that this map is strictly commercial (25) but, like his not very persuasive conceit of dividing Moll’s atlas into geo-economic and geo-political halves, this map is clearly geo-economic and geo-political. It highlighted the territorial claims and rivalries of European states and chartered companies as well as economic opportunities in the East Indies. Moll identified around fifty European enclaves along India’s shoreline from the Indus to the Ganges, nine more in the Ganges delta, and three further inland. The majority were Dutch (around thirty) and British (around twenty). The Dutch had dozens of factories in the Malay Archipelago while the British had three so, beyond showing the extent of British factories, it was also a map that pinpointed areas for future colonial growth that could involve displacing imperial rivals or cutting deals with indigenous rulers. To that end, Moll pinpointed the specific location of valuable resources and commodities like pepper, diamonds, pearls, cinnamon, calico, nutmeg, mace, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and gold. His longer notations listed resources and commodities - gold, diamonds, aloe, wax, gum, and frankincense - for whole islands (like Borneo). To the west of Sumatra Moll wrote, “Sumatra one of the Greatest Islands in the World, is very Populous and has the Necessaries for life. Their Mountains are high, cover’d with Trees, and have Mines of Gold, Silver, Copper, Tin, Iron, and Sulphur. They have Sugar, Ginger, Pepper, with which they load many Vessels every year.” This map contained many more such notes, but the reader could put the pieces of the story together: opportunities for commercial and territorial expansion abounded. One only had to seize the opportunity.

Moll’s 1715 Map of the West Indies: War, Dispossession, and Capital Accumulation

Fig. 6: Map of the West-Indies or Islands of America in the North Sea… (c. 1732).

Fig. 6: Map of the West-Indies or Islands of America in the North Sea… (c. 1732).

G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>

24While historian of cartography C. N. G. Clarke referred to maps as icons of possession, looking at Britain’s reach on the other side of the world, Moll’s 1715 Map of the West Indies showed that maps could also work as icons of possession and dispossession. Based on an earlier map he published with Robert Morden in 1701, on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, it was the tenth map in The World Described. The title cartouche and dedication to William Paterson provided a narrative frame for interpreting a map that Moll revised, re-engraved, and (re)published two years after the war ended. Its title, “A Map of the West Indies, or the Islands of America in the North Sea, with ye adjacent Countries; explaining what belongs to Spain, England, France, Holland, &c. Also ye Trade-Winds and ye several Tracts made by ye Galeons and Flota from Place to Place,” heralded a map of European “possessions” in the West Indies and the oceanic conveyance of its mineral wealth through the West Indies. That the map also told a tale of dispossession as a corollary of British capital accumulation was evident from a couple of its signifying features.

25A key signifier is the dedication to Paterson, one of the founders of the Bank of England and one of the main backers of a catastrophic scheme in the late 17th century to have the Scottish-government-charted Company Trading to Africa and the Indies colonize Darien in the Isthmus of Panama claimed by Spain (Armitage 97-118; Stern “British Asia” 699-700, 705-07, 712; Watt 35-90; Hanna 229-30, 282-84). Despite its complete abandonment by 1699, Moll’s map tied into a sensational public narrative and showed New Caledonia and New Edinburgh as if they still existed in the heart of the Spanish Main with the purpose of rupturing official Spanish commercial monopoly and creating a completely open trading system in the region to the profit of Scottish investors. Another key signifier (related to “primitive” capital accumulation), was a note Moll engraved northeast of the island of Hispaniola to encourage would-be “projectors,” freebooters, and speculators hoping for a quick and substantial return on investment at the expense of the Spanish: “North Riff: Here Sir William Phips took up a vast Quantity of Silver from a Spanish Wreck in 1685.” British subjects in Moll’s day would have known that Phipps, the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, received a knighthood for this salvage and contraband venture and his financial backers earned a 10,000 per cent profit (Lane 157,181; Balen 25) from his dispossessing the Spanish of £300,000 worth of silver that they had extracted using coerced, controlled, and increasingly waged labor on land confiscated from native peoples (Reséndez 100-24; Tutino Making 122-225; Tutino Heartland 31-70).

26Along these same lines, Moll created a more complex sign system involving the confiscation of Spanish treasure. In a practice well understood at the time, the English crown and colonial governors commissioned privateers to cruise West Indian waters during the War of the Spanish Succession to seize and plunder Spanish treasure ships (Starkey 107-112; Rediker 6-7, 64; Leeson 11-12, 197). Supporting those efforts - and invoking a story of dispossessing the Spanish that linked the best-selling and romanticized exploits of daring British “sea rovers” from Francis Drake to Henry Morgan and Woodes Rogers with the building of the British Empire (Lane 40-61, 96-129; Latimer 1-6, 17-20, 164-222) - Moll engraved lines with accompanying notations on this map that showed the path of the Spanish treasure fleet across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Along a dotted line leading into the Caribbean he wrote “The Tract of the Gallions [sic] from Old Spain.” West of the Gulf of Venezuela and Cabo de La Vela Moll engraved an anchor and the following text: “Here one of the Flota drops Anchor to give notice to La Hacha that the Gallions are come, and immediately Expresses are send [sic] over Land to Cartagena, Lima, Panama, &c. to hasten ye Kings Treasure.” In the Caribbean above Cartagena he wrote, “At Cartagena the Gallions usually stay 60 days, and thence go to Portobel where they lie 30 days, and then return again to Cartagena; from whence after som[e] stay, they sail for the Havana, to meet there ye Flota, which is a small number of ships, that go to la Vera Cruz to take in ye Effects of that Country.” Besides describing the route, Moll engraved a dashed line that started in Cartagena and curved around Cuba with the text “The Tract which the Gallions usually make from Cartagena to the Havana;” he engraved another dashed line in the Gulf of Mexico as “The Tract of the Flota from La Vera Cruz to ye Havana, occasioned by ye Trade Winds.”

27Filling out this story of anticipated dispossession and capital accumulation, the upper-right corner of the map featured planimetric views of the layouts, depths, and fortifications of the harbors where the Spanish treasure fleet anchored. These ports of call were Vera Cruz, Havana, Portobelo, and Cartagena, with St. Augustine thrown in for good measure as the last Spanish town with a garrison and safe harbor that the fleet passed on its way into the Atlantic and relative safety from privateer and pirate attacks. The fact that Moll carefully noted the locations of the fortifications in each city would not be lost on map readers who had read the popular and republished accounts of Henry Morgan and John Coxon plundering Portobello in 1668 and 1680 respectively, of the Dutch and French pirates Laurens de Graaf, Nikolaas van Horn, and Michel de Grammont successfully sacking Veracruz in 1683, and of French privateering forces under Jean-Bernard Desjean and Jean-Baptiste Ducasse pillaging Cartagena in 1697 during the Nine Years' War (Lane 114-116, 126, 166, 170-171). They would have understood and enjoyed, and perhaps embellished, the story Moll’s map related using lines, words, and images.

*

28Historians of cartography have long understood that mapmakers had to select, from the nearly infinite amount of information at their disposal, those elements that gave their maps meaning. Other mapmakers in early 18th-century Britain did not place the same economic, political, and cultural information on their maps that Moll did on his. Few had such extensive notations. None traced unsuccessful voyages or catalogued the variety and location of East Indian commodities. The composition of his maps was intentional. The elements and their arrangement laid out a story to be pieced together by the reader. To help the reader, Moll created titles that provided major signposts or breadcrumbs for readers to follow in engaging the maps’ narratives.

29Moll organized the interplay of line, image, and text – that is, the interplay between the graphic elements (graticule, projection, geography), pictorial elements (views and title cartouches), and textual elements (names, notations, legends) – to create a cartographic narrative that, with its appeals to scientific accuracy, profitable enterprise, and national advantage, foregrounded and supported the foreign economic, political, and territorial interests of an aggrandizing British state and its mercantile capitalist elites in an age of fierce imperial rivalries. In terms of design, Moll constructed maps that maximized the visual and discursive power of centers, edges, and corners and put his most important narrative elements there. (For a theoretical discussion of map architecture, codes of intrasignification operating within a map, and codes of extrasignification operating outside a map, see Wood 70, 81-82, 86-87, 92, 97).

30Moll’s maps contained multiple signifiers involving what Denis Wood (66) calls the “ceaseless circulation of meaning within the sign plane of the map.” In Moll’s case, he invited his readers to discover the circulation of meaning that involved the relationship between the main maps and the insets, the views of Spanish and East Indian ports, the maps’ full titles, the written notations, the images in the title and dedicatory cartouches, and the inscriptions of the routes of English and Dutch adventurers. Pieced together by readers, his maps laid out a story supporting capitalist accumulation in Britain through imperial plunder, dispossession, and profitable investment mainly in high value, but sometimes bulk, commodities. The narrative frames of the maps pointed to, or were entangled with, well-established public narratives which would have helped readers fill in any gaps that Moll’s narratives had.

31Moll’s empirically and mathematically grounded maps contributed to an expansionist discourse in Britain and they provided the geographic and cartographic information that made such expansion achievable. Enlisting the scientific thinking involved in geometry, astronomy, and geography in the service of an aggrandizing state and its mercantile capitalist elites and designing his maps to promote the political-economic goal of empire-building, his cartography focused the gaze of Britain’s political and economic leaders on the feasibility of further imperial expansion.

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Notes

1 The David Rumsey Map Center notes, “This is Moll's most impressive atlas, although it is largely just a collection of maps with a paste down title on the inside front cover. The maps are filled with Moll's observations, opinions, and knowledge and these annotations make the maps special and very personal, compared to other maps of the same period. The ‘beaver’ map in this copy is state 6 and dates the overall atlas at 1732. Moll first issued the atlas ca. 1715-17 and it had a republishing history of over 30 years.” Herman Moll, The World Described; or, A New and Correct Sett of Maps. David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries. G1015 .M6 1732 FF <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/11403450>. Given the paste-down title and the Table of Contents inside the front cover board, the atlas seems to be a 1754-1763 edition of The World Described in the Stevenses' catalog of the various editions of Moll’s atlas (Letter "I"), not the 1732 atlas. The Rumsey atlas has thirty maps while the 1732 atlas, according to the Stevenses, only has twenty-eight maps. See Henry Stevens and Henry Robert Peter Stevens, “The World Described in Thirty Large Two-Sheet Maps by Herman Moll,” typescript, 1952, British Library Shelfmark: Cartographic Items Maps Ref.E.2b.(30.). Also, it appears that, as an atlas, “The World describ'd; or, a new and correct set of maps, by H. Moll” was first issued in 1709. See “Moll Atlas,” British Library, Maps 4.TAB.17. [1708-1720]. “1709” is on the binding. The maps in the 1709 atlas are slightly smaller than the maps in the 1730 and 1740 atlases also held by the British Library. The maps in the later atlases are likely from different copperplate engravings made in Moll’s workshop.

2 For a discussion of the practice of intentional reading see Abbott, Introduction, 86,102-103: “…the ideas and judgments that we infer from the narrative are understood to be in keeping with a [single or group creative] sensibility that intended these effects” (102). Relatedly, referring to Gottfried Benn, Alison writes of “an orange-shaped narrative, in which all segments radiate from or lean toward a central pith” created by the author. Alison, Meander, 19. Elsewhere she writes, “Narratives that strike me as radial are those in which a powerful center holds the [narrative] world… tightly in its gravitational force.” Alison, Meander, 165-66. While Alison is interested in spatial narrative and patterning at the textual and not the graphic level, I am interested in spatial patterning to understand the juxtapositions and connections between line, word (text), and image in Moll’s maps.

3 While this article follows Wood in his contention that maps are sign systems open to semiotic analysis, it does not look to see how Moll’s maps made ontological arguments (“systems of propositions’) about what exists (34, 41) but focuses on the stories his maps tell.

4 The “Land of the Negroes or Blacks” (a translation of the Arabic “Sudan”) and what looked like divisions between the regions first showed up on Sanson’s 1651 double-hemisphere world map. He sometimes drew the divisions along natural features like mountain ranges but not always. In this map he also indicated colonial borders in North America. (Shirley 414-415). In his 1660 double-hemisphere world map, Sanson gave the regions in Africa definite borders that were no longer linked to imagined natural features and he also divided up the rest of the world into coherent empires, colonies, and states even where none existed (as in Southeast Asia) (Shirley 441). Frederick de Wit followed and extended Sanson’s model, creating often arbitrarily bordered regions on all continents except Australia. See his double-hemisphere world map of 1668 that he placed in his maritime atlas and that other mapmakers copied. Shirley, Mapping, 461-462. Richard Blome was also one of the first mapmakers to follow Sanson’s geographic divisions in West Africa. They appeared on his 1670 double-hemisphere world map where judiciously placed (and likely imagined) mountain ranges and rivers created east-west “borders” for the regions (Shirley 472-74). Other mapmakers followed: John Sellers with a 1684-85 double-hemisphere world map and Moll with a 1688 double-hemisphere world map that was a re-engraving of a map after one by Alexis-Hubert Jaillot (Shirley 523, 542-43). Pierre Mortier’s 1700 double-hemisphere world map had faint lines separating the five African regions, various Eurasian states, and some colonial borders in the Americas (Shirley 612-13).

5 See Jodocus Hondius’ 1617 double-hemisphere world map. It identified the five borderless regions as Barbaria (Barbary), Biledulgerid, Libya Interior, Saara (Sahara), and Guinea as did Claes Janszoon Visscher’s 1650 double-hemisphere world map (Shirley 320-22, 408-11). These were the standard names for these regions of West Africa until “Negroland” replaced Libya Interior and was located below rather than above the Sahara Desert. See John Sellers’s 1684-85 double-hemisphere world map (Shirley 523). Even as late as 1694, Alexis-Hubert Jaillot showed all five regions without borders on his world map. In fact, he and a 1700 double-hemisphere world wall map by Jean Baptiste Nolin showed no political borders at all (Shirley XL, 598-601).

6 One of the first maps to delineate colonial borders in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia was Henricus Hondius’ double-hemisphere world map of 1630/1633 (Shirley 359-61). The borders on the map seemed to follow putative rivers in West Africa and were not copied by later mapmakers with the possible exception of Nicolaas J. Visscher’s 1657 world map (Shirley 423, 425). Both maps identified Barbary, Biledulgerid, Sahara, and Guinea but not Negroland.

7 All the toponyms in this paragraph were on Moll’s map.

8 It was rare for men to represent the four main continents allegorically in the early-modern period. See Alex Zukas, “Class, Imperial Space, and Allegorical Figures of the Continents on Early-Modern World Maps,” Environment, Space, Place 10, 2 (Fall 2018): 29-62. See also Clare Le Corbeiller, “Miss American and Her Sisters: Personifications of the Fours Parts of the World,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series 19, 8 (April 1961): 222-23, and Michael Wintle, The Image of Europe: Visualizing Europe in Cartography and Iconography throughout the Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), esp. 311-12.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1: A New and Correct Map of the World, Laid Down According to the Newest Discoveries and from the most Exact Observations. By Herman Moll, Geographer (1732. orig. 1709).
Crédits G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>
URL http://journals.openedition.org/1718/docannexe/image/8764/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
Titre Fig. 2: Detail from A New and Correct Map of the World, Laid Down According to the Newest Discoveries and from the most Exact Observations. By Herman Moll, Geographer. (1732. orig. 1709).
Crédits G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>
URL http://journals.openedition.org/1718/docannexe/image/8764/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 805k
Titre Fig. 3: A New & Correct Map of the Whole World Shewing ye Situation of its Principal Parts… 1719.
Crédits G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>
URL http://journals.openedition.org/1718/docannexe/image/8764/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 966k
Titre Fig. 4: Detail from A New & Correct Map of the Whole World Shewing ye Situation of its Principal Parts… 1719.
Crédits G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>
URL http://journals.openedition.org/1718/docannexe/image/8764/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 996k
Titre Fig. 5: A Map of the East-Indies and the adjacent Countries… (c. 1732).
Crédits G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>
URL http://journals.openedition.org/1718/docannexe/image/8764/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
Titre Fig. 6: Map of the West-Indies or Islands of America in the North Sea… (c. 1732).
Crédits G1015 .M6 1732 FF. Courtesy, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, Creative Commons License <https://searchworks.stanford.edu/​view/​11403450>
URL http://journals.openedition.org/1718/docannexe/image/8764/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 942k
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Alex Zukas, « Cartography and Narrative in the Maps of Herman Moll’s The World Described »XVII-XVIII [En ligne], 78 | 2021, mis en ligne le 31 décembre 2021, consulté le 28 novembre 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/1718/8764 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/1718.8764

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Auteur

Alex Zukas

National University, San Diego, CA

Alex Zukas received his Ph.D. in Early-Modern and Modern European History from the University of California, Irvine and is Professor of History at National University in San Diego, California. He has written on working-class and environmental history, European imperialism and colonialism, and the history of cartography. His work has appeared in Contemporary European History, Labour History Review, Radical History Review, The History Teacher, World History Connected, The Middle Ground Journal, Environment, Space, Place, and the Journal of World History as well as in numerous edited volumes, most recently, “Negotiating Oceans, Islands, Continents, and British Imperial Ambitions in the World Maps of Herman Moll, 1705-1730,” in Negotiating Waters, Nancy Pedri and Andre Dodeman, eds. (Wilmington: Vernon Press, 2020), 1-28. He is currently researching and writing a book with the tentative title, Herman Moll and the Entangled Cartography of the British Empire, for the Lexington Books series “Empires and Entanglements in the Early Modern World.”

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