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Maps and the Birth of America: Charting a New Continent

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0405
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Map of the Pacific Ocean (detail) from 1589, Asbury Family Collection

Before photography, film, and television opened the world, printed and hand-colored maps brought home the thrill of undiscovered lands and the possibilities of exploration. Over the centuries, maps of America changed from exotic curiosa and cherished art objects to vital instruments in the growing conflicts on the continent.

In a richly illustrated program, Neal Asbury and Jean-Pierre Isbouts, co-authors of the new book Mapping America, trace the critical role that maps played in battles including those of the French and Indian War, and examine how British strategy during the Revolutionary War became entirely dependent on hastily engraved (and often flawed) charts of geographical features and enemy dispositions in the territories in which they fought.

Asbury is one of the nation’s foremost connoisseurs and collectors of maps of America, from the Renaissance to the 18th century. Isbouts is an art historian specializing in the Renaissance and a bestselling National Geographic author.

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