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[Detail] Preface from Punchinello 1, no.1 (1870).

Historical Comprehension: Using Historic Maps

Historic maps are a unique primary source; they can provide information about geography, history, and politics, as well as the state of people's knowledge about the world. Two maps of the same area drawn at different points in history can show continuity and change over time.

Examine the two maps of Indian Territory. Outline the area in each map on a map of the United States. Then answer the following questions:

  • When were the two maps drawn?
  • What similarities do you note between the two maps?
  • What differences do you see between the two maps? What might account for these differences?
  • How might bias manifest itself in a map? What would you need to know to assess whether these maps were biased?