Odds and Ends: A Continent Full of Feathers; Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre

A couple of tidbits for the first weekend of November. 1909 National Geographic Map of Africa Click to expand (3347 x 4264). This National Geographic map of Africa dating from 1909 has been featured rather prominently in Wikipedia’s Africa article for quite some time now. Not only a political geography map, the map also intended…

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The Flannan Isles

Marooned all alone in the Atlantic Ocean are Scotland’s Flannan Isles, a very small and profoundly lonely archipelago that is isloated evey by the standard of the Outer Hebrides with which they are associated. The ‘isles’ are more like islets: seven small islands surrounded by a dozen or so outcrops of breccia rocks poking above…

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The Oldest Buildings in the World, Part III: South America and Europe

Today is Part III, the final instalment of our look at the world’s oldest buildings by continent. Part I can be found here; Part II can be found here. South America – Sechin Bajo (3500 BCE) View Larger Map A rather recent addition to the list, the oldest building in the Peruvian ruins of Sechin Bajo…

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The Oldest Buildings in the World, Part II: North America, Africa, and Asia

Today is Part II of our look at the world’s oldest buildings by continent. Part I can be found here; Part II can be found here. North America – Cuicuilco Circular Pyramid, 800-600 BCE View of Cuicuilco’s main circular pyramid looking south from the Anillo Periférico freeway in Mexico City. Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CuicuilcoPerifericoDF.JPG. View Larger Map…

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Novelty Globes: 1578 Italian Replica Globe Bar

A couple of years in an article about the phantom island of Hy-Brasil, I mentioned an item that has been a longtime presence in the actual basement this website is named for: a replica 16th-century Italian globe/mini-bar. From the outside, it looks like an old globe (if you ignore the rolling cart wheels on the…

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The Oldest Buildings in the World, Part I: Antarctica and Australia

For any building to make it past 100 years old, let alone be thousands of years old, it’s actually quite an accomplishment when you think about it. A building has to be constantly maintained in order to ensure its continued integrity. Aesthetic tastes change, land uses change, and disasters both natural and manmade occur; all…

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The Ruins of Nan Madol

On the other side of the world from Venice, there exists the ruins of another mediaeval maritime city, built upon dozens of small islands divided by canals, that was home to a political dynasty that lasted for centuries. Unlike the world-renowned Adriatic city, however, the Micronesian city of Nan Madol faded away into history, leaving…

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Johann Christoph Homann’s 1730 Map of Asia

The map you see above is a 1730 maps of Asia produced by the German cartographer Johann Christoph Homann, scion of the famous early 18th century cartographer Johann Baptist Homann (click on the map to expand to its full size of 4000 x 3492). Its full title? The rather convoluted Recentissima Asiae Delineatio: Qua Imperia,…

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New Ulster, New Munster, and New Leinster: Names for New Zealand That Didn’t Take

In our last post on 19th century comparative maps, you may have noticed this map from 1855, which not only included New Zealand in the Western Hemisphere but also labelled what we know today as the South Island ‘Middle Island’, giving the ‘South Island’ appellation to what we call Stewart Island or Rakiura (the smaller…

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