The British Library has made over 40,000 Early Modern Maps freely available online. 

Most of us do not, today, live in desperate need of maps. On the internet we can easily find not only the current maps we need to navigate most any territory on Earth, but also an increasing proportion of all the maps made before as well. You can find the latter in places like the David Rumsey Map Collection, which, as we wrote last year here on Open Culture, now boasts 91,000 historic maps free to download. It will surely add even more, as humanity seems to have only just begun digitizing its own many attempts to make the physical world legible, an art that goes back (as you know if you read the University of Chicago’s The History of Cartography online) to prehistoric Lascaux cave paintings of the night sky.

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