Hi, Map lovers. Ivy here! We in the Northern Hemisphere celebrated the first day of winter yesterday, but today, let’s wish our Southern-Hemisphere-inhabiting friends a happy summer solstice! Because of the way Earth is tilted on its axis, our shortest day of the year coincides with their longest (and vice versa, but we can talk about that in June). This tactile relief map was created to teach some northerners—German school children, to be exact—about the Southern regions of Australia and Polynesia. It belongs to a set that covers the world called, “Plastischer schul-atlas für die erste stufe des unterrichts in der erdkunde,” or “Plastic school atlas for the first stage of teaching in geography.” In addition to depicting land and its elevation in three dimensions, the map has a key on the right that points out underwater phenomena, like “Sand und Korallenbänke” (Sand and Coral) and “Klippen und Riffe” (Cliffs and Reefs). And, as often seems to be the case in older maps, it’s accompanied by a reductive illustration of a “gruppe von Australiern oder Oceaniern,” or a “group of Australians or Oceanians.” The illustration may have been included to add context to the map, but by today’s standards, it’s sorely lacking.
These dark and chilly Boston days are making me a little envious of Australia’s brighter, warmer Decembers! --
Ravenstein, August. "Australien und Polynesien." 1865. Link in profile.
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