History ETDs

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The following thesis is an affort to trace the growth and development of the concept of California in the cartographical representations produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The manner in which California appeared on European maps from an early period of discovery until the middle of the eighteenth century, at which time California began to form its true character on the cartography of the period. The source material used in this work is adequately cited, with bibliography and list of illustrations included to enable the reader to find any material within in which he might be interested. Source material includes both primary and secondary sources, combined with photographs of maps pertinent to the thesis. The beginning part of the work deals with a brief introduction to the state of European cartography in the earliest period of Spanish exploration of the New World. A short history of map-making and mapping techniques up to that period is included to bring the reader up to date where California begins to make an appearance in the cartography of the period. The earliest appearance of California in European cartography of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is discussed in its connection to the beginnings of Spanish maritime exploration of the New World. Several chapters are used to deal with the most important official Spanish exploratory voyages which discovered the lower peninsula of California, and slowly moved northward along the California coast, adding greatly to knowledge of the western coast of North America. The maps which remain extant are included within the text in an attempt to trace the cartographic development of California during this period of intensive Spanish maritime exploration of the New World. Several additional aspects of the cartographic development of California are included in thesis for discussion. One of these was the concept of a northern inter-oceanic passage through the continent of North America, a concept of California as an island: the origin, populatiry, and eventual decline of this idea is discussed in relation to its effects upon cartographic development. The work ends with a discussion of the factors and trends which finally resulted in California being brought back to a more accurate place in the cartography of the North American continent.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Donald Colgett Cutter

Second Committee Member

William Miner Dabney

Third Committee Member

Burton LeRoy Gordon



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History Commons