Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Map of the Week-Henry Hudson 400

The Henry Hudson 400 Foundation was founded to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Hudson's voyage to North America. He explored New York harbor and sailed up what is now the Hudson River hoping to find the northwest passage to the Pacific. Instead he found Albany.

The Foundation has put together a series of events including a rare maps and documents exhibit; New Amsterdam, The Island at the Center of the World at the South Street Seaport Museum. The exhibit opened September 13th and runs through the end of the year. They also have put together an excellent website with a series of antique maps and data overlaid onto Google's maps.

This map shows Hudson's four voyages. The third one, in dark green took place in 1609. He explored the North Atlantic coast as far south as the Chesapeake Bay. The fourth voyage made it as far as the Hudson and James Bays in 1611 before his crew killed him in a mutiny.

Historic maps can be overlaid with Google in several ways. This is a direct overlay of a 1625 map of Amsterdam by Balthasar. The background map only shows up because I made a screen capture before it finished loading the Balthasar map.

This 1731 James Lynne plan of lower Manhattan was overlaid using the transparency slider so you can see some of the Google map details in the background.

There is also a side-by-side viewing option as seen for the map "Novi Belgii Novaeque Angliae Nec Non Partis Virginiae Tabula"
by Nicolaes Janzsoon Visscher & Augustine Herman (1651 - 1655)

The site has an "Origins" tab where you can get information about the first kosher butcher or the area's first prostitute. There are also links to other maps around the world from this period of exploration shown under the somewhat confusing "Map Illustrations" heading. Finally, there are a series "Water Challenges" due to rising sea levels. Happy exploring!