Wednesday, February 21, 2024

New Orleans Slave Revolt

Despite what some officials in Florida want to teach, not all enslaved people appreciated the job training they were getting from their benevolent overseers. In fact there were numerous rebellions. The largest one was in 1811 outside of New Orleans. 

The map above is from a story in about a reenactment of the rebellion a few years ago. The action had been planned for a long time and began when the plantation owner's slave driver led about two dozen people broke into the house, killed the owner's son and took uniforms and arms from the store house. They planned to march 41 miles east to New Orleans and overthrow the local government but were stopped by the military in Kenner and forced to turn back. A few escaped but most were killed or recaptured.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

In response to last week's Black Atlantic post, a reader directed me to the Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The Atlas has a companion site,  Echoes: the SlaveVoyages Blog where you can browse through an impressive array of maps produced for the Atlas. Here are the major regions where captives were taken from.

via Slave Voyages

This overview of the slave trade shows how captives were taken not just to the Americas but also to the Middle East, India and even parts of North Africa

via Slave Voyages
By far though, the Americas (especially South) had the largest volume of the slave trade. Here is the volume and direction of the routes to American regions.

via Slave Voyages

There are many more interesting maps to discover at the Echoes site or you can buy the book here.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Black Atlantic

This map was created by LĂ©opold Lambert to emphasize centrality of the Atlantic Ocean to the slave trade.

The map was created for an article in the Funambulist and was recently featured as a “Map of the Week” (yes there are others) for the American Geographical Society’s Ubique blog.


Though not explicitly mentioned, the ocean currents are shown and their role in the routes of the ships can be clearly seen.

The article also contains this map by Komla Eza, an artist from Togo showing the triangle trade with the “five changes of matter” in the center.

I have not been able to figure much else about this map so we’ll just enjoy it as art.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Indigenous Languages-Part 3

Here is part 3 in what was meant to be a two part series. In between my last two posts, Vivid Maps posted a map of indigenous languages. I think this was just a coincidence. I only saw their post yesterday and I don't think they saw or were reacting to what I posted. Anyway this is a pretty interesting map, originally from Reddit.  

User aofen did a nice job here though the number of languages represented makes it impossible to have a distinguishable color scheme. Especially since the colors run into each other.

The languages chosen for this map have over 25,000 speakers. Southern Quechua (darker yellow on the map below) has the largest number of speakers at 6.9 million. Guarani also has an impressive reach with 6.5 million and is one of two official languages of Paraguay. It's area closely fits the boundaries of that country. Most of these languages are primarily spoken in rural areas.

Some of these languages can be found in the Living Dictionaries site highlighted in my last post. In some cases I suspect the spellings are a bit different because there are some very similar names. 

NOTE: A lot of research went into this map. I have not had the time to verify any of it and am assuming a high level of accuracy and good faith here. One can never be certain with online sources.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Map of Endangered Languages - Part 2

Last week's post showed a huge number of indigenous languages throughout the world. Here is a summary (via the Living Tongues Institute) showing hotspots of endangered languages.

The above site has a companion living dictionaries site where you can find a language by map,

zoom closer for more detail,

 and open its dictionary.

When opening the dictionary you can see and listen to the pronunciations of the indigenous words.
If geography is not your thing (what?) you can search the sidebar for a specific language.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Map of Endangered Languages

Languages become endangered when parents teach a more dominant language to their children. This clickable map can be found on Ethnologue, a language reference guide and a good place to spend part of this International Decade of Indigenous Languages

Hover over a language to see the name,

and click for more information,

including a language profile page.

This map can be a bit overwhelming with dots for over 3,000 languages. Here an overall one showing the percent of indigenous languages that are endangered.
The "western world" (plus Australia, New Zealand and Japan) is where these languages are the most endangered. Interestingly many western European countries are in the low zone, though the number of indigenous languages in these countries are pretty low to begin with. It is likely that many languages in this region are already extinct.

Finally if 3,000+ points is not enough for you here is a map of 7,168 living languages from the same site.

There will be more on this subject next week - stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Below the Ice

This past fall scientists uncovered a vast landscape that has been "frozen in time" under the Antarctic Ice Shelf. Here is a nice graphic from

The topography was determined by a combination of radio wave echoes and satellite images. This landscape, more than 2 kilometers below the ice has remained untouched for over 34 million years though global warming is threatening to expose it. The landscape was home to forests, river valleys and probably animals before being buried under ice. This landscape is less well known than that of Mars according to glaciologist Stewart Jamieson. 

Here is another view of the topography under the ice via Nature.