People standing in a semi circle looking at the name of the website, Mapping the Republic of Letters in bold and cursive font

Mapping the Republic of Letters

Browsing the site, users are able to gain a deeper appreciation for how data visualisation can help academics examine previously well-known and well-utilised primary sources in new, innovative ways.
Map of the coast of Liberia, with a relief shown by hachures. It shows boundary of tribes, mission stations, colonist towns, and native towns.

Maps of Liberia, 1830 to 1870

This collection offers a unique opportunity to study black history and culture, both in the diaspora as well as in Africa itself.
Example from MapWarper showing a New York map overlaid on a GoogleMap of Manhattan


This can be a powerful tool to understand the spatial orientation of past places or events and to present spatial history projects directly onto contemporary maps.
Mercator projection

Mercator Projection


The map is a Mercator projection and is among the most common in use today. It places North America at the center.

This source is a part of the Analyzing Maps methods module.

Mercator Projection with Eurasia Centered

Mercator Projection, Eurasia Centered


The map is a Mercator projection that has been altered. Instead of placing North America in the center, the Eurasian land mass is in the middle. This map of the world suggests some of the ways the choices made by mapmakers have a significant impact on our understanding of the world.

This source is a part of the Analyzing Maps... Read More »

Misión Basilica San Diego de Alcalá


Throughout the eighteenth century, the Spanish Crown authorized the establishment of more than twenty churches across the area that comprises the state of California today. These institutions, along with the dozens of other churches already founded throughout the US-Southwest region, aimed to evangelize the native peoples. This complex targeted the nearby Kumeyaay peoples. Founded in 1769, the... Read More »

Misión La Purísima Concepción De María Santísima


The Purísima Concepción Mission was founded in 1787 as part of a larger network of Spanish colonial churches throughout the region. By this time, ten other missions had been established in modern-day California, in addition to the dozens of others across the territory that today comprises the US-Mexico border. These churches aimed to convert the native communities to Catholicism by teaching... Read More »

Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña


The Spanish Crown claimed possession of vast territories throughout North, Central, and South America between the late-fifteenth and early and nineteenth centuries. The region that comprises the modern-day US Southwest served as borderlands between indigenous communities, and Spanish, French, and English colonies. It was not heavily populated with Spanish setters, but it did have military... Read More »

Misión Nuestra Señora del Refugio


The Nuestra Señora del Refugio Mission was a Spanish colonial church complex built in the late-eighteenth century. By this period, Spanish friars had established dozens of similar communities throughout the modern-day US Southwest. At this time, this region functioned as a borderlands between Spain’s possessions and those of France and England. The objective of these missions was to convert... Read More »

Misión Nuestro Señora de la Soledad


Established in 1791, the Mission of Nuestro Señora de la Soledad was a Spanish colonial church in the frontier region of Spain’s empire in North America. By the time of its founding, twelve other similar institutions already existed throughout modern-day California, in addition to the dozens of churches across the US Southwest. The objective of these missions was to convert the native peoples... Read More »