In summer 2015, I visited the USA and part of Canada. It was seven weeks of hectic fun. In Washington, one of the highlights was a visit to the Library of Congress, specifically the Jefferson Building. It was ‘all kinds of awesome’: the magnificent colourful entrance hall and sumptuous steps, Jefferson’s book collection, an original Gutenberg Bible, the incredible reading room which reminded me of my days using the British Library although the two buildings couldn’t be more different.
But one thing that always attracts me in such places is the map collection. Perhaps having a geography teacher mother influenced me, but I LOVE maps – they reveal so much not only about the place they represent, but also what people thought important, a place/nations’s history and development, the attitude, knowledge and aspirations of the mapmakers and their paymasters.
Change fascinates me. The transit of a country from one stage of development to the next always sparks questions in my head – why, who, how, what if? In the hallowed hall of the Library of Congress, I searched for the ‘birth of a nation’ map of the US and found the EUS of my Roma Nova world.
Let me explain. In the alternate time line where Roma Nova exists, the ‘Eastern United States’ – the EUS – is only one nation in the North American continent: it was co-ruled by British and Dutch governors up to 1813 then solely by the British until 1867. We have Louisiane (never purchased and much larger than today’s state) and Québec (most of north east Canada) which belong to a France ruled by a constitutional monarch descended from Napoléon Bonaparte, then the Spanish imperial territories in the southwest which include our timeline’s Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and the Indigenous Nations’ Western Territories in between. The boundaries are not fixed and they only form the background, in particular to INCEPTIO, but I had fun working it out.
Imagine the pleasure when I looked at McMurray’s map in the Library of Congress and found an inset with the territories more or less divided in the way they are in Roma Nova! Obviously, things have moved on since 1783, but it could still be like this today, but for chance factors like the odd revolution in our timeline.
You can find the full map with inset here: http://www.loc.gov/item/gm71005423/
Are you a map geek? Please tell me I am not alone in the world…
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