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Historic Maps of Newfoundland

Historic Maps of Newfoundland and Labrador Give Us a Glimpse into the History of Our Province.

The following information is a brief outline of the Historic Maps of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is apparent that once the development of the map of Newfoundland and Labrador was tied closely to the exploration and settlement of the province.

Although it is thought that one of the first maps of Newfoundland was done by John Cabot in 1497, it is not clear that such a map exists.

One of the first dated maps was called the Cantino Map amd showed the voyage of the Corte Reals. Consequent maps depicted the voyages of the Explorers, and followed the routes of the early settlers.



Before 1949, there were few developments in the mapping of Newfoundland and Labrador. Since 1949, under the terms of Confederation, extension of the triangulation of the North A mericainto Newfoundland was carried out when Canadian Surveyors came to Newfoundland. Newfoundland is also imaged by LANSAT, the United States satellite.

Some of the Historic Maps of Newfoundland and Labrador include:
  • Cantino Map, showing the voyages of the Corte Reals (1502)
  • La Cosa Chart (dated 1500-1520)
  • Sebastian Cabot map (1508-1509)
  • Magglio Chart, called the Egerton map (dated 1507 - 1510)
  • "A Munster map of 1540, a Bernadetto of 1543 (as attributed and dated by Harrisse) and a Desliens of 1561 showed a single island as the representation of Newfoundland. Finally, in 1590, Bartholomeo Lasso in Lisbon shaped the uni-insular form which became generally accepted. The general shape of the Northern Peninsula shown in the Vallard chart of 1542 and in the Luis Chart of 1563 was not bettered for two centuries, while Lopo Homen's 1554 chart already showed a good Avalon Peninsula.*"
  • John Mason made a map of Newfoundland that was published in 1624. It showed a detailed survey of the Avalon Peninsula.
  • In 1721, there is the oldest surviving map compiled by a native Newfoundlander - William Tavenor drew a map of St. Pierre
  • Stockholm map of 1604, made by John Hall
  • Louis Joillet (1694)
  • Atkins (1729)
  • Swayne (1753)
  • Curtis's inaccurate chart (1772) is the first attempt to show Northern Labrador in detail
  • In 1867 a petition to the British Government from Newfoundland merchants, resulted in a survey the area with accuracy.

    Mason Map

    Source; ENL




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