Superb story Map by Elizabeth Della Zazzera made on Lapham's Quaterly
on the relationship between mapping and the development of maritime trade.
A fantastic historical introduction to nautical maps and the essential cartographic breakthroughs that made global trade (and colonialism/imperialism) possible
From the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, European powers sent voyagers to lands farther and farther away from the continent in an expansionist period we now call the Age of Exploration.
These journeys were propelled by religious fervor and fierce colonial sentiment—and an overall desire for new trade routes.
They would not have been possible without the rise of modern cartography.
While geographically accurate maps had existed before, the Age of Exploration saw the emergence of a sustained tradition of topographic surveying.
Maps were being made specifically to guide travelers.
Technology progressed quickly through the centuries, helping explorers and traders find their way to new imperial outposts—at least sometimes.
On other occasions, hiccups in cartographic reasoning led their users even farther astray.