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Purposes of Early 19th-Century Polish National Cartography

Purposes of Early 19th-Century Polish National Cartography

(p.89) Chapter Four Purposes of Early 19th-Century Polish National Cartography
Mapping Europe's Borderlands
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the purpose of Polish cartography in the early nineteenth century. The drawing and collection of maps in early nineteenth-century Poland were invitations to cultural nostalgia and political assertiveness. But by no means did they represent a consensus on autonomy or independence, reform or revolution, or Poland's frontiers in general. Polish maps were artifacts suited to combat forgetting, blatant intimations of a past national golden age, or devices to verify, fabricate, manipulate, and disseminate historical memory. In confronting the layers of meaning in Polish maps, such ambitions are difficult to disentangle. Those who imagined a way to encompass, define, and restore Poland's territorial space in Europe retained the idea of the historical peoples of pre-1772 Poland–Lithuania as belonging to Poland, living in a providential, harmonious space. In postpartitioned Poland, activists used maps as a way to draw the distant Atlantis intimately near.

Keywords:   Polish cartography, maps, Poland, mapping, Europe, territorial space, activists

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