Learn Geography Terms With This Gorgeous Antique Map

Caitlin Schneider

David Rumsey Map Collection // Click to enlarge

Geography is tricky for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that terms for the planet’s natural highways, byways, and features often bump up against one another—and sometimes overlap entirely.

For all the things you didn’t retain (or never learned to begin with), there’s Bancrofts’ Pictorial Chart of Geographical Definitions, published in 1870 by E.W. Smith in Philadelphia. The vintage map shows landforms and waterways along with their appropriate geographical terms. There are reefs, canals, shores, sounds, points, and headlands, rendered beautifully in an all-encompassing scene.

As Vox points out, many of the terms are still a little fuzzy, even with the map. Waterways are a common point of confusion. For example, a gulf and a bay look pretty similar, right? As it turns out, a bay is wider, particularly as it meets the sea, though gulfs tend to be bigger in general. In other words, you may also need a dictionary if you really want to ace your geography exam.

The Bancroft Company map is part of the David Rumsey Collection, and you can see an even larger version there, or buy a print. Let’s face it: We could all use this hanging on our wall.

[h/t Visual News]