Thursday, June 16, 2011

Anthropomorphic and Zoomorphic Satirical Maps:#2

Detail of China from “The Illustration of The Great European War No.16 -- A humorous Atlas of the World,” by Tanaka, published in Japan, 1914.  A rare satirical / political map from the Asian Perspective. The China-as-pig figure is seen examining the Manchurian lands of the former Qing Dynasty (ousted in the revolution to be replaced by the early form of the Republic of China) through a magnifying glass.

The Gerrymander, 1812
“The painter Gilbert Stuart was inspired by the awkward shape of an electoral district on a map he saw in a newspaper editor’s office.  He decorated the snake-shaped district with a head, a set of wings and claws, making it out to be some kind of antediluvian monster.  ‘That will do for a salamander,’ he said to the editor.  ‘Gerrymander!,’ replied he to Stuart.  For the man responsible for the odd shape of that electoral district, in eastern Massachusetts, was Elbridge Gerry, governor of the state.  His Democratic-Republican partisans had stitched together the district in such a way as to assure the electoral victory of their candidate and therefore the defeat of the candidate for the other main party, the Federalists.  The year was 1812, and the first of many recorded uses of the term occurred that spring.  The continued popularity of the term – and relevance up to the present day – stems from the practice in the United States of revising the boundaries of electoral districts every 10 years, in order to keep up with demographic change.  A very wise provision, and many of those districts do in fact change, but not always with the accurate representation of the electorate in mind.” From:

 The Eagle Map of the U.S., 1833
The Eagle Map of the United States, engraved for Rudiments of National Knowledge Presented To The Youth of the United States, And To Enquiring Foreigners, By A Citizen Of Pennsylvania, an atlas published in 1833, depicting the geographic extent U.S. at that time.  Description from Frank Jacob’s website Strange Maps “The map represents America as an eagle, with its head coinciding with New England (except Maine), its eye with Vermont, its neckline following Lakes Ontario and Erie, the wing outlines Lakes Huron and Superior (and further west the eventual Canadian-American border at the 49th parallel).  The eagle’s breast follows the Atlantic seaboard, its talons form Florida – even though the claws protrude far from the coastline, and somewhat ominously, towards Cuba.  The real reason why this particular iconic representation of America’s national bird never caught on, is in the tailfeathers – shaped to follow a border no longer in existence by 1848.  The western borders of the subsequent independent and later US state of Texas are recognisable, for now as the dividing line between the US and Mexico.  The feathers follow the US inland border as it moves north, and disappears out of sight at the area disputed with Great Britain.  Meanwhile, the great inland empire of Louisiana is already being divided up into US states, with Louisiana and Missouri separated from the ‘mainland’ of the formerly French lands.

Comical Battle Map of Crimean War, 1854
A bibliographically unknown caricature map of Europe showing the political situation of the Crimean War.  The Russian Bear, wearing the Imperial crown labeled “Despotism” and branding a cat-o-nine-tails whip strides eastward but looks westward over its shoulder toward an enslaved, chained Polish maiden on her knees. The region labeled “Engentliches Russland” (The Real Russia) is marked Verrath (Teason), Bigottery (Bigotry), etc. The toes of the Russian bear’s right foot take the form of the Crimean peninsula where the French and English fleets gather to “clip the bear’s claws.”  The Treaty of Paris, March 1856 concluded the Crimean War and forbade Russia to maintain a fleet in the Black Sea.

 Scott’s Great Snake, 1861
“Although propaganda maps are better known from their use during World Wars I and II, an occasional map of this type was published during the Civil War.  Such works are designed to have a maximum psychological impact on the user of the map.  The commercial publisher J. B. Elliott of Cincinnati published a cartoon map in 1861 entitled "Scott's Great Snake" which pictorially illustrates Gen. Winfield Scott's plan to crush the South both economically and militarily.  His plan called for a strong blockade of the Southern ports and a major offensive down the Mississippi River to divide the South.” From:

Geographical Fun: Humorous Outlines of Various Countries - Russia, 1869
“The artist William Harvey created in the 19th century a full atlas of anthropomorphic maps under the title ‘Geographical Fun: Humorous Outlines of Various Countries.’  The atlas was published in 1869 and included 12 maps of European countries, each with a unique character.” From  These types of maps were often used as mnemonic devices for young students to learn geography, which in those days pretty much meant the correct locations of the countries of the world and their salient features.

Geographical Fun: Humorous Outlines of Various Countries - Wales, 1869
Other maps in this series included Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Prussia, and five more countries.

Hegemonies in Europe, 1870
The period 1848-1877 was a very tumultuous one for Europe, marked by revolutions, nation unification, most notably in Germany and Italy, empire-building, numerous wars of aggression, such as the Crimean War, the Balkan Crisis involving the Ottoman Turks, and unrest in (and caused by) the behemoth ever-expanding nation of Russia.  The world was also becoming more connected, and events and struggles in Asia and Africa impacted Europe and to a lesser extent, America.  This was a period of American isolationism, which was soon to end by the later 19th century with the advent of America’s own brand of imperialism. 

 Porcineograph – The USA as a Pig, 1876
Full title of map: “THIS PORCINEOGRAPH is copied from the Census Surveys of 1870, adding only 3 feet of territory (?) resting on Cuba, Mexico and Sandwich Islands, and the Hydro-Cephalus from Canada. Congressional Legislation is required to PERFECT this GEHOGRAPHY.” (misspellings are the cartographer’s)
“The familiar shape of America’s 48 contiguous states is shadowed by the silhouette of a trotting porker. The bristles on its back peek out over the long, straight border with Canada. Maine figures as its eastbound snout, its right eye is placed between Lakes Erie and Ontario to coincide with the Niagara Falls & Cataract (2). A giant pig’s ear covers much of Michigan and Wisconsin, in imitation of the Great Lakes.  Two legs of the continent-sized beast are coterminous with actual geographic features: its right front leg, raised, is the Florida peninsula, its right back leg, touching putative ground, is Baja California, the Mexican peninsula. An imaginary left back leg is reaching across the Pacific to step on the islands of Hawaii, or, as they were then also commonly referred to, the Sandwich Islands (bacon sandwiches, by the look of these). Its imaginary front left companion rests on a sausage-shaped Cuba (3). The state of Washington has sprouted a bristly, curly tail wrapped around Alasqueue.  The pig’s feet on Cuba, Baja and Hawaii account for the three added ‘feet’ of territory mentioned in the title. The claim on Cuba is justified by the (southern) US’s Spanish legacy, the extension towards Hawaii simply by America’s Pacific reach.  The justification for the appropriation of Baja is, rather cryptically: Cast not thy (Mexican) pearls before swine least (sic) they tread them under their feet.  Not all the entities shown here were states at this time; some were still territories, a few still had to acquire their final borders: the Dakotas were still Siamese twins, and Arizona and Wyoming were still to lose western bits of their territories to Nevada and Idaho, respectively.”  From:
Contrary to what one would associate with depictions of pigs (gluttony, greediness, dirtiness, etc.) this map was apparently not a satirical commentary on American piggish-ness.  It was created by a Mr. Baker of Massachusetts, one of the early developers of a popular sewing machine, who made a fortune, retired young, and got on a kick about hygienic living, which for him included the healthful raising of pigs.  This map was distributed to guests at the opening of his new utopian estate and piggery. 

 Serio-Comic War Map for the Year 1877
“This cartoon-map give a satirical take on the events of 1877 – a volatile year in Europe….it uses an outline of Europe as the framework for presenting its political comment, assuming that its readers will recognize the shapes and identify the countries within.  Twenty-five years after the Octopus Map was first published, it was used again by Japanese propagandists to win European support against Russia during the Russo-Japanese War.”

The United States Presidential Election, 1880
The Victorian British cartographer Lillian Lancaster drew this map depicting the American election of 1880 between Civil War General Hancock and James Garfield (on the left, shown as a crying child having his leg pulled by Hancock, while Uncle Sam looks on, smirking, with New England as his top hat).  Garfield won with the smallest popular vote victory in US history.  (not counting the 2000 election, where George W. Bush actually LOST the popular vote, but still won the election!  Winning candidates who lost the popular vote also occurred in the elections of 1824, 1876, and 1888.)

English Imperial Octopus, 1888
American cartoon of John Bull (England) as an Imperial Octopus with its arms (with hands!) in – or contemplating being in – various regions around the world, such as Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Cape Colony, Gibraltar, Boersland, Jamaica, Egypt, Canada, Australia, and India.

The Silver Dog With the Golden Tail - Will the Tail Wag the Dog, or the Dog Wag The Tail? 1896
An 1896 map published in the Boston Globe, as a political cartoon advocating for free and unlimited silver coinage – a departure from the gold standard – to lift the nation out of financial depression.  This issue of the gold standard was a huge political flash point at the time, and inspired the well-known populist tale, the allegorical book by L. Frank Baum “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” published in 1900 (for instance, the yellow brick road was the metaphor for gold, and Dorothy wore silver slippers, unlike in the 1939 film when they were changed to ruby slippers.  The characters all represented personalities in the debate who would have been well-known in the day.  There are numerous other references in the book that would have been obvious to a knowledgeable contemporary audience).  Both the 1896 and the 1900 presidential elections hinged on the debate about the return to “bi-metalism” or the retention of the gold standard.  The western US states (where the silver mines were located) obviously wanted a return to bi-metalism, and formed the “Free Silver” movement.

 Ten Thousand Miles from Tip to Tip, 1898
“This political cartoon: ‘Ten Thousand Miles From Tip to Tip’ (1898) refers to the extent of U.S. domination and expansion (symbolized by a bald eagle) from Puerto Rico to the Philippines, which it contrasts with a map of the United States of 100 years earlier which was much smaller.”
The American Anti-Imperialist League was established in the U.S. on June 15, 1898, to battle the American annexation of the Philippines (“insular areas”) following the Spanish American War. The Anti-Imperialist League opposed annexation on economic, legal, and moral grounds.  The American writer and humorist Mark Twain was vice president of the league from 1901 until his death in 1910.  

 John Bull and His Friends. A Serio-Comic Map of Europe, by Fred W. Rose, 1900 
“Fascinating political caricature map by Frederick Rose of the countries of Europe, known as the Octopus Map from the brooding presence of the Russian Empire depicted as a massive octopus, whose tentacles stretch out towards Europe.  China is shown in the grasp of Russia, as is Persia and Poland.  France and Spain are attractive women, while Germany, Italy and England are Military commanders.  This map, by Rose, followed the style created by a Frenchman, Joseph Goggin, showing Russia as an octopus.”  From:

 The Situation in the Far East, 1900
Imperialism in China around 1900 --with the bear representing Russia intruding from the north, the lion representing the United Kingdom in south China, the Gallic frog representing France in southeast Asia, and the American eagle representing the United States approaching from the Philippines.  On the eagle is written "Blood is thicker than water", a reference to U.S. Navy Commodore Josiah Tattnal’s saying in 1859.

 War is the National Industry of Prussia, 1914
From the French point of view: Now, with Prussia as the Octopus! Notice how the size of the soldier in the upper right grows larger, from 1715, to 1815, to 1914. 

 Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark, 1914      
“A dog-orientated interpretation of the political situation in Europe in 1914, in which many of the principal countries of Europe are defined in distinctly canine terms. “The Dogs of War have been let loose in Europe...” begins the accompanying text below the map.  Germany is identified as an aggressive helmeted Dachshund, [hund being the German word for hound or dog, but “Hun” being the English word for German in those days] its Austrian ally a yapping Mongrel, Belgium a tiny & easily mauled Griffon, France a dandified Poodle and Britain a watchful Bulldog, biting the Dachshund’s nose.  Other European countries are identified by figures which are equally amusing- a Spanish bullfighter; a smiling Dutchman; a knife-wielding Greek ready to stab his neighbours in the back; an Italian carabinieri with pistol in hand; a cold-footed Swiss mountaineer; a Russian bear at whose side a massive steamroller moves westward, the Tsar at its steering wheel; a kneeling Turk with French lapdog in tow; and Britain be-straddled by the figure of a giant sailor from whose hands flow strings to which are attached numerous battleships - a reference to Britain’s impressive naval strength.” From:,%20Riddle%20&%20Co..html

 Kill that Eagle, 1914
“This satirical map of Europe is ‘a document proving the perfidy of Albion.’ [Albion is an ancient name for England.] While German assets and blood fight for the fatherland, England regards the war merely as business by saying sneeringly: ‘Business as usual.’  [The eagle represents Germany.] The map was issued and later reproduced in German, with the note that the map was ‘reproduced by a German printer without kind permission from our English cousin, as an eternal memento.  Printer and Publisher W. Nölting, Kaiser Wilhelmstr. 93. HAMBURG 36.’” From:

 Satyrische Europa Karte Weltkrieg 1914 {Satirical Map of Europe in the World War 194}
(by E Zimmerman; Hamburg, W. Nölting [pub.])
“The Russian bear sprays insect repellant on the Russians and holds out his empty wallet while roaring “hunger.” Finland, chained to Russia, tries to cut itself free. The Russian is under fire from Austria and Germany. His (chamber) pot is full of victories. His uniform shows a tear in East Prussia and Lithuania. The Austrian duly scratches the Serbs. Rumania is at the ready.  Bulgaria is still wounded from the Balkan War.  The Turk awakes, he looks at his harem woman.  Norway and Sweden are neutral, Denmark supplies butter.  Italy has both feet in one boot and remains neutral.  The German pushes Belgium out of the way with the elbow and is at Franzi’s head.  Bordeaux becomes an asylum for the homeless.  The victories of the English and French are false, like the snakes that proclaim them.”  From:

The Illustration of The Great European War No.16 -- A humorous Atlas of the World, 1914
From the Asian Perspective.  “The map was actually published in Japan in 1914 and the Japanese script is faithfully - apart from some misspellings - rendered into English with the correct dual names and also title added at the bottom of the print.  But the print's title and detailed caricatures across the rest of the world point to the author/illustrator (Tanaka) employing a wider-angled lens, with the focus going far beyond China or Asia. There is a lot to see in the map, not only because it depicts the start of World War I from a satirical standpoint, but because the views being expressed are coming out of Japan/Asia.  My favourite parts are the tusked wart-hog of Germany, the semi-sea monster appearance of Britain (perhaps inspired by Robert Dighton's 1795 cartoon map).  The China-as-pig figure is seen examining the Manchurian lands of the former Qing Dynasty (ousted in the revolution to be replaced by the early form of the Republic of China) through a magnifying glass.”  From:  
 Detail of Western Europe from “The Illustration of The Great European War No.16 -- A humorous Atlas of the World,” by Tanaka, published in Japan, 1914.  A rare satirical / political map from the Asian Perspective. 

L’Entente Cordiale, 1915
This German propaganda poster relates to upset over the L'Entente Cordiale agreement.  It shows a depiction of Britain as a spider, German eagle sitting overhead, Uncle Sam and two others tied up in web in background. The Entente Cordiale was a diplomatic agreement signed in 1904 by France and Great Britain which adjusted the colonial disputes between the two countries, and paved the way for Anglo-French co-operation against German expansion in Europe and in the colonial world.  “Although often perceived as sinister and negative, the spider’s web may actually be considered the perfect symbolic metaphor for a supranational European unity and identity, such as the one outlined 50 years ago in the terms of the Treaty of Rome, almost exactly 420 years after Bucius’s vision of a European Queen.” From:

The Allied “Touch,” 1920
The Allies’ “stranglehold” on Germany, after the settlements of WWI.  And, so, the stage was set for WWII,  just around the corner…..

Some good websites on anthropomorphic and satirical maps, with a number of examples I haven’t shown above:
There is a whole website devoted to octopi in cartoons! “The Octopus in Propaganda and Political Cartoons” at  Hilarious!  


  1. Thank you very much for this nice selection. I will use them in my history classes.

    Hasan from Istanbul, Turkey

  2. Great selection of maps - I'll use them in my teaching too.

  3. This is a wonderful collection; thanks for rounding them up!

    I will not use them in my class, as I don't teach, but I enjoy them nonetheless.

  4. I have done some extensive map work myself. Unfortunately I am new to blogspot so I have not figured out how to use it yet. My map work can be view on my Teachings of the White Raven Facebook page at the following address.



  5. Dommage que la moitié soit un peu n'importe quoi ça aurait été très utile.

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