“1696 Danckerts Map of Florida, the West Indies, and the Caribbean” #HGIS #georeference #Mexico

The reason this map captured my attention is because it showed Mexico as it was rendered by colonial geographers. Interestingly enough my focus on the map was less concerned with the hegemonic recasting of these landscapes deployed by Spanish conquistadors. My interest was in Malintzin, the enslaved Indigenous woman who was sold to Hernan Cortes, enslaved then utilized as an interpreter by Cortes and his men.

In looking at the map, I cross referenced certain locales that Malintzin may have been exposed to. I was able to do this because I encountered a text about Malintzin called “Malintzin’s Choices” by Camilla Townsend. The book noted the places Malintzin was (dis)located to and from. For the places that were mentioned in Townsend’s text  I took a mental note of them and made a digital map in CARTO.

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Of course Danckert’s map was created 177 years after Malintzin was taken by Cortes, however that particular map was the earliest one I found that had the best appraisal of the Mexico coastline. Historical GIS is a very useful thing and georeferencing is an extremely useful skillset for spatial humanists to imagine the historical boundaries of place.

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