Bermuda: a forgotten representation of Atlantic Ocean space

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


At the dawn of the Modern era, as European maps and map-making became defined by intellectual objectivity and accuracy, the binary of ‘land’ and ‘sea’ became increasingly important in cartographic representations of the ocean. This in turn led to islands being represented as fixed spaces demarcated by coastlines grounded in the strict insular difference between these two categories. However, this delineation is a cultural construct, as it is based on ‘natural’ geographic forms that were socially created to enforce the idea of oceans, islands and shores being internally coherent. By contrast, within early modern geographic thought these components made up interdependent and connected spaces which were not simply defined by their physical differences. Rather than a meeting point between ‘land’ and ‘sea’, island space in the earlier era was its own unique construction, being neither-land-nor-sea. By considering the cartographic representation of Bermuda, from early mapping by Diego Ramirez and John Smith to the notable Lempriere chart in the eighteenth century, it is possible to consider how cartography grappled with the conceptual issues of depicting islands, and in turn, address a space which was ‘of the ocean’ whilst also ‘developable’.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2023
EventThe Ocean and Seas in Geographical Thought: IGU Thematic conference - University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy
Duration: 06 Jun 202307 Jun 2023


ConferenceThe Ocean and Seas in Geographical Thought: IGU Thematic conference
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