The Historic Maps of Africa collection includes 78 maps and dates from circa 1631 to 1973. Geographic content of individual maps varies from topographical information, boundaries of colonial territories, and ethnic groups, among other topics. While several depict the continent of Africa in its entirety, many focus on specific countries and geographic regions. There are a particularly large number of maps depicting the West African Coast.
Scope and Contents:
The Historic Maps of Africa collection consists of 78 maps, dating from circa 1631 to 1973, with the bulk created in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The maps vary in size, ranging from the smallest at 7 x 7 (7/8) inches to the largest at 40 x 30 (5/8) inches.
Geographic content of individual maps varies from topographical information, boundaries of colonial territories, and ethnic groups, among other topics. While several depict the continent of Africa in its entirety, many focus on specific countries and geographic regions. There are a particularly large number of maps depicting the West African Coast.
The majority of the maps in the collection feature color illustrations. Titles and descriptions of the maps are in several languages (Dutch, English, French, German, and others), representing the different colonial powers in control at the time. Particular maps of interest include an 1830 colored map in English titled "Africa from the Best Authorities," which illustrates the entire African continent, various ethnic groups, and the inroads made by European colonial powers; and a 1656 topographic map in French depicting the west-central coast of Africa, specifically the mountains and rivers of the region.
Digital copies of the maps are available.
The collection is arranged in chronological order.
Use of original records requires an appointment. Contact Archives staff for more details.
Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Historic Maps of Africa collection, EEPA 1991-001, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Images are subject to Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, Copyright and Image Use Restrictions. Usage requires prior written permission. Should you wish to use NASM still images in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Photographs, available at NASM's Permissions webpage: www.nasm.si.edu/research/arch/permissions.cfm
National Air and Space Museum. Center for Earth and Planetary Studies Search this
9.83 cu. ft. (2 blueprint storage boxes) (48 oversize folders)
Moon -- Surface
circa 1974-1975, with related materials from circa 1966
This record unit consists entirely of oversized materials, mostly lunar surface maps and a few maps of Earth's surface, including Egypt, taken from space. For other
records concerning lunar nomenclature, the lunar surface, and space maps of Egypt, see the papers of Farouk El-Baz, Record Unit 7415.
The Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS) was established in 1974 as part of a formal program of research at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). At the
same time, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) transferred its collection of lunar scientific maps and photographs to CEPS. Farouk El-Baz, a lunar geologist
and a member of the International Astrophysical Union Task Force on Lunar Nomenclature, was appointed first Research Director. CEPS, working with NASA, undertook both lunar
and earth mapping projects, such as the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, which utilized astronauts in earth orbit to study and map earth features. El-Baz served as Director, 1974-