Mapping Texas and the New World, a new exhibit opening Thursday March 19 at the Mason Square Museum features maps as early as 1595 by Giovanni Antonio Magini and Ignazio Porro. The display includes early cartography showing the shores of the new world only a hundred years after its discovery. The collection includes maps by Abraham Ortelius from a small atlas of 1601 and a decorative map of “Americae” by Gerard Mercator from 1610. Several examples show the progressive understanding of the shape and errors in geographical information, including maps showing California as an island, and spanning the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Mapmakers such as Philipp Cluver, G. De’Lisle, and Matthaus Merian are represented and the political boundaries often change with the nationality of the map publisher.
An early, certain political nationality that represents the land that has become Texas seems to date from 1821 when Mexico threw off the burden of Spanish rule. Several maps show the borders of Mexico encompassing the “vast space of land unknown” part of which become the Lone Star state. Only fifteen years later, on the battlefield of San Jacinto, the Texians claimed their own independence and although the boundaries were uncertain, a number of maps are included that show the Republic of Texas.
The museum, located on the north side of the square in Mason, is open Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. For more information go to www.masonsquaremuseum.org .