There have been many different approaches to studying seafaring in the past. We can look at the evidence of voyages in books written by prominent explorers or follow the maps maintained by successful prominent trading companies.
These maps show two constructed least cost pathways between Flinty Bay on Long Island just off the coast of Antigua (the right end of the line) and Jolly Beach on Antigua (the left end of the line).
These side by side charts show the basics of how least cost pathway analysis works in action. A geographic surface, landscape or seascape, is broken into standard size squares (or cells).
This image showcases one of the few remains of a canoe found in the Caribbean. The ‘Stargate’ canoe, found in a blue hole—a large marine cavern--on the island of South San Andros in the Bahamas, represents only the tip of the canoe.
These images of a man in a canoe come from the work of the Spanish official, historian, and botanist Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo (1478-1557), who created many images of Amerindians while he was in the Caribbean during the 1520s.
For a long time, historians tended to study colonial empires of the 19th and 20th centuries one colony at a time, or through the relationship of one colony to its metropole.
In a way, all historical thinking and all historical writing deal with travel accounts.
Featured in this image is a pair of Skull Earring created by the Aztec. They were believed to have been created around the time of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire beginning in the early 16th century.
This image shows a print from the 1568 version of the Voyages and travailes of Sir John Mandevile, knight. Sir John Mandeville’s Travels is believed to have been first published in the mid-14th century and rereleased many times in subsequent decades.
Macro Polo lived from 1254 to 1324. He spent twenty-four years journeying through the Asian continent and left behind an impressive amount of documentation including travelogues of his adventures.