National Geographic Maps

National Geographic Maps

We’ve reached out to a few of our customers to discover how maps have touched their lives. This story delves into his love for maps as a child. We’d love to hear your stories! Comment below to share your story! 

One of my favorite memories as a kid was pretending to be Indiana Jones, I’d travel the world and discover all of the amazing cultures in it. I planned out my adventures with a  National Geographic maps. I loved the rustic aesthetics of the maps and they contained both physical features and political boundaries. My two favorite maps where the National Geographic map of Africa from 1922 and the National Geographic map of South America from 1921.

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The Africa Map from 1922  came from a National Geographic magazine devoted entirely to the continent of Africa. The National Geographic map depicting Africa in the 20th Century displays colonial administration of the different regions being differentiated by colors. At the time the countries of Britain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Spain and Italy controlled much of the African territory. The National Geographic map contains an English transliteration key to help native English speakers properly enunciate the French, Italian and Portuguese names. The map also includes a translation key for the native words.

The National Geographic map of Africa also included all of the capital cities, towns, caravan routes, railroads, rivers, swamps and desert areas. As a child, this allowed me to create my own imaginary adventures. Just like Indian Jones, I was able to fly into specific cities, ride exotic animals on caravan routes, hop railroads and interact with indigenous people.

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The South America Map from 1921 was my personal favorite. The beautifully crafted map contained physical, economic and climate information on the amazing continent of South America. The National Geographic map was released in October 1921 and was dedicated entirely to South America. I could explore the mountains, rivers, lakes, marshes, glaciers, and capitol cities, anything I could possibly imagine.

The National Geographic map of South America also included official languages as well as translations. The translations inspired me to learn more about the different cultures and their native languages. South America is a predominantly Spanish speaking country with exceptions such as Portuguese in Brazil and indigenous languages such as Quechua, Aymara, and Tupi Guarani. While not being predominant throughout South America there are many indigenous languages. In Brazil alone there is around 180 different indigenous languages.

Growing up with access to National Geographic maps has helped foster a life long love for travel and experiencing different cultures. I believe learning about the world and all of its awesomeness is important for children. It builds their knowledge base, expands their horizons and creates an open mind. Cross-culturally humans may be very similar in biological aspects but culturally there is a great deal of variability. Languages, customs, environment and much more play a dynamic role in shaping different cultures which in turn gives humans a more holistic view of the world. For this holiday season get your child a National Geographic map and help them learn more about our amazing world!

This memoir was written by an anonymous customer.

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