Maps are essential. Planning a journey without a map is like building a house without drawings. But Maps aren’t always as accurate as we’d like to believe.
A new book The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps, Written by British author Edward Brooke Hitching, is an atlas of the world not as it ever existed, but as it was thought to be. The Book is a collection of striking antique maps that display the most erroneous cartography, with each illustration along with the story behind it.
Brooke-Hitching was sold so many things to start a new life
Brooke-Hitching first became interested in cartography as a child. His father was a rare book and map dealer who covered the walls of their home with old geographical charts.
One of Hitching favorite hoaxes concerns Scottish explorer MacGregor, who reportedly visited London in the early 1800s with a map of a new but entirely make-believe country in South America. He sold off sections of land. ““Two boats full of colonists, who sold all their possessions to start a new life there, sailed to the coordinates he provided,” said Brooke-Hitching. But, unfortunately for them, they discovered “nothing but a desolate swamp.”
Some stories are almost impossible to believe and some are remarkable. Some of the errors were still on display in maps published in the 21st century.