Word Wednesday — Cartography

7 min readNov 21, 2018

Posted on November 21, 2018 by Robin Brooks

This Week’s Word Is “Cartography”

In this week’s Word Wednesday, history and geography collide in DK’s History of the World Map by Map.

Starting with the fossil record and finishing with the world’s population explosion, the book charts the history of man through a series of maps. It’s important to make the distinction that this book is not a history of maps. It is not filled with ancient charts and early maps, but modern, accurate maps that illustrate key events through time.

What is The History of the World Map by Map?

Across 350 pages, the history of the world is told using maps. Each double page spread has a map that spreads across both pages with text wrapped around it. This being a DK book, you can expect great photos, clear diagrams (or maps in this case), and sidebars. There are fewer photos than I’m used to from previous DK books I’ve reviewed, but that is probably because the book is aimed squarely at adult readers. The lack of pictures is made up for by the volume of sidebar text. Each of the maps is labeled and annotated with them. The book contains a good spread of maps that depict key historical events from all around the globe.

History of the World Map by Map is arranged chronologically and is broken down into 7 sections. Each section begins with a brief overview that takes up a double page, contains no maps, but does have a timeline of the period covered.

1. Prehistory.

7 Million Years Ago — 3000 BCE. The rise of early man and the peopling of the globe. The migration of humans, including the settlement of Australia and the Americas. The advent of farming and agriculture and the birth of villages and towns, are all covered in the prehistory section.

2. The Ancient World.

3000 BCE to 500 CE. The Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Minoans, Chinese, Romans, and Greeks are all covered in this section, as well as the settlement of the world’s first cities. There’s a fascinating page on the birth of writing, a discussion of the first American civilizations, the first Emperor of China, and the roots of Indian history. The first maps…


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