Cover image for Historical atlas of the Arctic
Historical atlas of the Arctic
Hayes, Derek, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, [2003]

Physical Description:
208 pages : illustrations, maps ; 33 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
G620 .H38 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

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The vast empty spaces of the Poles were the last frontier to be assailed by explorers intent on achieving a geographical goal. But long before the North Pole was finally attained, men sailed the seas searching for an easier and shorter path to the riches of the Orient. The mapmakers of the day translated sparse information into often fanciful, sometimes stunningly artistic maps.

Author Derek Hayes documents the international race for the Pole involving expeditions on foot, by hot air balloon and by airplane. Along with the detailed historical maps, Hayes provides insightful commentary, and describes the aspirations and motivations of explorers and the harsh realities they faced. Hayes also presents a number of revealing and often beautiful scientific maps produced at a time when the military and those in search of oil probed the ocean and the ice of the arctic frontier.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Naming places after oneself is one of the perks of being an explorer, as the geographical nomenclature of the Arctic testifies. It is also politic to gratify one's sponsors, so names of European royals, a U.S. president, and a distiller also dot the vast north. Four hundred years of finding and naming, from Frobisher Bay to Laptev Sea to Prince Charles Island, are literally displayed in this work. It reproduces cartography constructed from information brought back by expedition leaders--or often by their surviving subordinates. Compiler Hayes provides summary narratives of major ventures, such as Russia's Great Northern Expedition of the 1730s, but the heart of the work beats with the visual elegance and accuracy of the 300 maps included. Except for the modern, satellite-generated charts Hayes shows, most are super-rare, under archival lock-and-key or in private collections. Map lovers will find in Hayes' pricey album the access they're unlikely to obtain personally. --Ray Olson Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

The author of two previous historical atlases (Historical Atlas of the North Pacific Ocean and Historical Atlas of Canada), as well as First Crossing, an account of Alexander Mackenzie's expedition across North America, Hayes has assembled a remarkable corpus of more than 300 original maps, beautifully reproduced in full color, that document exploration of the Arctic regions over the past 500 years. The great impetus was originally the search for the Northeast and Northwest Passages to reach East Asia by sea. The subsequent race for the North Pole by land, sea, and air has inspired explorers for the past century and a half. The maps included come from the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Greenland and are accompanied by informative text discussing all of the major expeditions for the general reader. There is also a complete "map catalog" and a useful bibliography. This handsomely produced publication is recommended for all libraries, especially those with cartographical collections.-Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Pierce, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The shape of the Arctic melts and reforms before readers' eyes as they peruse this magnificent collection of maps that illustrate humans' conception of the Arctic regions from 1483 to 2000. These maps, drawn from a rich cartographic history of voyages of discovery and mapping for commercial ventures, cover all major Arctic explorations. Hayes has selected maps he considers most historically significant or representative of the constantly changing shape of the Arctic as perceived by Europeans over time. He knits these beautiful and sometimes amazing maps together with explanatory text, from the search of the Danish King for his lost colonies in Greenland to modern scientific exploration of the region with satellite images. There is a certain amount of duplication with the author's Historical Atlas of Canada (CH, Mar'03) and Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest (CH, Feb'00), but not enough to prevent libraries from purchasing all three titles. This beautiful book should be added to any collection dealing with the Arctic or the history of any of the countries involved in the exploration of those regions. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. High school, public, and academic library collections. B. Galbraith Washington State University