Historical cartography is a branch of cartography, i.e. thematic cartography dealing with historical (historiographic) maps – an interdisciplinary field concerned with processing of historical events and processes on the maps. A historical (historiographic) map is a thematic map illustrating historical events in an analogue (printed) or electronic (digital) form. The terms historical cartography and historical map tend to be mistaken with the terms history of cartography and old map. The history of cartography is a branch of cartography, which is concerned with the history of cartographic works and their creators. An old map is a map whose content no longer corresponds to the current condition of the depicted area. With the development of cartography, the term old map is shifting closer to the present day. There is a difference between the collector's perspective of an old map as a cartographic relic regarding the age and ornateness of the map and the perspective of an expert who monitors transformations of the landscape in the past. A historical map can be simultaneously an old map and conversely, an old map can be a historical map if it is a map with historiographic content, created in the past. An example of such a map is Historická mapa Čech [Historical Map of Bohemia] created by František Palacký in 1876, which illustrates 14th-century Bohemia or plans of Prague by Václav Vladivoj Tomek from 1892 with themes from the 13th-15th centuries. The historical map can also be referred to as a reconstruction map. This is not, however, a special term in the field of cartography, but a working name for depiction of research outcomes in the form of a map. In historiography, a reconstruction map is a synthetic collection of knowledge on the selected theme, a detailed analytic probe into the selected theme, a complex view of a certain epoch or comparison of individual themes or periods.
A specific feature of historical or reconstruction maps are the toponyms. Throughout the thousand-year history of the Czech state, but also the European states and other continents, not only the state, land, regional, district and other administrative borders changed, but also the geographical names changed. The knowledge and application of historical toponyms facilitates understanding the historical contexts and the historical landscapes. Within the Czech Lands, the variability of the geographical names is great. The local toponyms in the written, cartographic and pictorial sources appear in Latin, German and Czech. However, the variants of the toponyms are not only linguistic; they also have chronological levels (for example the toponym Falknov, Falkenau, Sokolov, etc.). On historical and reconstruction maps, the contemporary toponyms and the historical toponyms including exonyms (local Czech geographical names) are usually inserted in doublets directly on the map or in a register.
Analogue historical maps and atlases contain sets of static data collected to the particular date of the work's creation. Electronic historical maps and atlases are cartographic works in the form of computer programmes stored on computer media (especially the Internet, CDROM or DVD). In many cases, they have multimedia features, mainly sound and video. Electronic historical maps and atlases are divided into static and dynamic (interactive) maps. The user can search for geographical objects, historical data (dates, events and processes, transformations of borders and landscapes, etc.) and diverse graphical, statistical and visual information. Interactive maps facilitate spatial orientation on various chronological levels. The contents of electronic atlases are frequently modified and supplemented.
The beginnings of historical cartography and its tradition date back to the second half of the 16th century. In 1579, Parergon by the Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius was first published, originally only as a supplement to his famous Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, then individually. It contained maps illustrating the ancient geography as well as biblical and classic scenes. Ortelius was followed up by other works of a similar nature in the form of individual atlases or parts of comprehensive geographical atlases (in the 17th century, e.g. Johannes Janssonius, Nicolas Sanson, Pierre Duval, etc.). At the beginning of the 18th century, the first work referred to as a historical atlas (Atlas Historique, ou nouvelle introduction à l'Histoire, à la Chronologie & à la Geographie Ancienne & Moderne published by Françoise L´Honoré in Amsterdam, 1705-1720) was published. It is attributed to Zacharias Chatelain.
While until the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, the historical atlases were dominated by Dutch and French cartographic production, from the 18th century, the importance of English and German production was growing (e.g. Hermann Moll, Johann Matthias Hase). In the second half of the 18th century, Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville created twelve maps on the period from antiquity to the early Middle Ages based on critical evaluation of ancient materials. These maps significantly influenced further direction of historical atlases on the antiquity (in 1784, they were also published in Nuremberg under the name Atlas antiquus Danvillianus). In the 19th century, historical cartography started to develop rapidly and the chronological reach of the atlases extended, now paying attention also to medieval and modern times. The most important representatives of historical atlases in the first half of the 19th century were Emanuel de Las Cases and Christian Kruse who completely omitted the history of antiquity in his Atlas zur Übersicht der Geschichte aller europäischen Länder und Staaten (Oldenburg, Halle 1802-1818). The form of the modern historical atlas was fundamentally influenced by Karl von Spruner (Historisch-geographischen Hand-Atlas zur Geschichte der Staaten Europa's vom Anfang des Mittelalters bis auf die neueste Zeit, 1837-1846). The leading publishers of this type of atlas included Justus Perthes (Gotha) or Carl Flemming (Glogau). In the second half of the 19th century, the tradition of historical school atlases was established by Friedrich Wilhelm Putzger. His Historischer-Schulatlas was first published in Leipzig in 1877 and then many times, including a Czech translation. Historical maps and atlases reflect the contemporary theoretical, methodological and factographic niveau of the discipline, the historical discourse and its transformations, but also the methods of cartographic representation of the historical theme.
In the Czech lands, the teacher and priest Aleš Pařízek created two historical maps for schools entitled Historische Karte vom Königreiche Böhmen and Historische Welt:Karte in circa 1781. Inspired by the work Miscellanea historica regni Bohemiae by Bohuslav Balbín from 1679, Pařízek drew important landmarks and events from the history of the Kingdom of Bohemia on the maps using simple pictorial signs. The first Czech historical atlas, entitled Atlas starého světa [Atlas of the Old World] was created by Václav Merklas in Prague in 1850. In 1856, the Archaeologische Karte des Königreiches Böhmen by Antonín Schmidt was published in Prague and in 1868 historian Jan Erazim Wocel created the map Čechy v VIII. a IX. Věku [8th and 9th-Century Bohemia] as a supplement to the work Pravěk země České [Prehistoric Bohemia]. The Historická mapa Čech [Historical Map of Bohemia] by František Palacký and Josef Kalousek, which was published in 1876 and again in 1894 in a revised edition, is still valued for its professional quality and the use of written materials. The authors created the cartographic reconstruction of 14th-century Bohemia and partly the earlier, pre-White-Mountain period, in the scale of 1:525,000. František Palacký prepared it as a supplement to Popis království Českého [Description of the Kingdom of Bohemia] from 1848. The map was based on information acquired during the study of materials for Popis, but also for the synthetic Dějiny národu českého v Čechách i v Moravě [History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia] (also in 1848). Palacký also supplemented the content of the map with ecclesiastical administrative division of the country in the Middle Ages, the parish network in the pre-Hussite period and with many castles, fortresses and towns. The best 19th-century historical cartographic works, which still used, also include Mappy Prahy 1419, 1348 a 1230 [Maps of Prague 1419, 1348 and 1230] created by Václav Vladivoj Tomek and published in 1892, which reconstructed the network of streets and build-up areas in pre-Hussite Prague, based on the study of the city books. Josef Kalousek and Josef Brož created a series of three maps entitled Historické mapy k dějinám Království českého III. [Historical Maps on the History of the Kingdom of Bohemia III], which were published in 1885. Atlas production continued with works by Bedřich Tempský and Jan Lepař. Before 1900, Hermenegild Jireček intended to create an atlas of the mediaeval history, but his project did not meet with high acclaim among the professional public. Authors of historical atlases who made their name in the first half of the 20th century were Antonín Balcar, Jaroslav Vlach, František Kameníček, Jan Macháček, Josef Brunclík, Otakar Dorazil and Jaroslav Lameš.
After the Second World War, historical cartography took shape especially in the form of historical school atlases, which were published in various modifications and repetitive editions. The most significant representatives include Školní atlas československých dějin [School Atlas of Czechoslovak History] (1959-1988, 16 ed.) and Školní atlas světových dějin [School Atlas of World History] (1962‒1986, 14 ed.).
After the 1950s, historical atlases also featured specialized themes; for example, the Historický atlas revolučního hnutí [Historical Atlas of Revolutionary Movement], which was published in 1956, was heavily influenced by the current situation in the society. In the 1960s, several large Czechoslovak atlas cartography works were created – the historical Atlas československých dějin [Atlas of Czechoslovak History], Československý vojenský atlas [Czechoslovak Military Atlas] from 1965 and 1966 and the Atlas Československé socialistické republiky [Atlas of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic] published in 1966. This triad was to create a collective work consisting of cartographic elaboration on Czech and Czechoslovak history, the current national atlas (the first after Atlas republiky Československé [Atlas of the Czechoslovak Republic] by Jaroslav Pantoflíček and Václav Láska from 1935) and an atlas of the world with a military-historical section. The Atlas československých dějin [Atlas of Czechoslovak History] managed by Jaroslav Purš was to provide a unified, complex cartographic illustration of the historical development of the Czech Lands and Slovakia from primeval times to the year 1960 on forty-five map sheets with more than four hundred maps, cartograms and charts. The atlas was created in cooperation with the Institute of History of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and other institutions, mainly the Institute of History of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, archaeological institutes, universities, etc. The focal point of the work lay in the department of historical geography managed by Jaroslav Purš. The scientific editors of the individual sections were Karel Bednář, Jiří V. Horák, Ota Pokorný and Jaroslav Vaniš, for the Slovak issues František Bokes and Teodor Lamoš, workers of the Institute of History of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. Archaeological issues were addressed by Archeologický atlas Evropy a Československa [Archaeological Atlas of Europe and Czechoslovakia], which was published in 1979 by the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague in cooperation with the Jagiellonian University of Krakow as a university textbook.
The transformations in the approach to historical development and discourse after 1989 were projected into the scientific historical atlases, atlases for the general public as well as the historical school atlases (for primary and secondary schools). After almost half a century, a new scientific Akademický atlas českých dějin [Academic Atlas of Czech History] (Eva Semotanová, Jiří Cajthaml et al., 2nd revised edition in 2016) was published in 2014. It reassumed the study of historical geography and historical cartography, which was pursued in the Institute of History CAS, or its predecessors, already before the Second World War. The atlas was created in cooperation with many historians, cartographers, geologists and other experts mainly from the Institute of History, CAS, the Faculty of Civil Engineering, CTU and the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Charles University. The historical maps, cartographic models, illustrations, charts and cartograms present a collection of selected findings of modern Czech historical science on Czech and Czechoslovak history after the year 1989 with links to the European, but mainly Central European space. The atlas features three mingling themes – the man, the space and the time. It is characterized by a distinctive trans-disciplinary nature. One of the specialized scientific atlases is the Historický atlas měst ČR [Historical Czech Towns Atlas] created by a team of authors led by Eva Semotanová (currently vol. 1‒31, 1995-2020). The current knowledge on European prehistory is illustrated in Archeologický atlas pravěké Evropy [Archaeological Atlas of Prehistoric Europe] by Miroslav Buchvaldek, Andrea Lippert, Lubomír Košnar et al. from 2007 and Archeologický atlas Čech [Archaeological Atlas of the Czech Republic] by Martin Kuna et al. from 2015. The specialized historical multi-volume Etnografický atlas Čech, Moravy a Slezska [Ethnographic Atlas of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia] has been published by a team of authors ever since 1979. The Atlas církevních dějin českých zemí [Atlas of Ecclesiastical History in the Czech Lands] was created by Zdeněk Boháč in 1999 and an atlas of Kłodzko by Ondřej Felcman and Eva Semotanová in 2005. The first large historical atlases for general public were published in 2007 and 2016 under the names Ottův historický atlas [Otto's Historical Atlas] (Eva Semotanová et al.) and Ottův historický atlas – Praha, krajina města [Otto's Historical Atlas – Prague, the Landscape of the City] (Eva Semotanová et al.). By the occasion of the XXII International Congress of Historical Sciences in Jinan was prepared the title Eva Semotanová, Zlatica Zudová-Lešková, Tomáš Janata, Pavel Seemann et Alli, Frontiers, Massacres and Replacement of Populations in Cartographic Representation Case Studies (15th-20th Centuries), Prague 2015. In the year 2019 was published the work Eva Semotanová, Zlatica Zudová-Lešková, Jitka Močičková, Jiří Cajtham., Pavel Seemann, Jan D. Bláha a kol., Český historický atlas. Kapitoly z dějin 20. století [Czech Historical Atlas, Chapters to the 20th Century].
Historical cartography and its methods have been a part of historiography in the Czech Lands since the second half of the 19th century. It enables elaboration on the results of historical research in the form of cartographic representation. The spatial aspects of the researched issue are thus depicted in relative complexity and in a certain degree of generalisation, analytically as well as synthetically, as a cartographic model of historical processes. The methods of historical cartography require accuracy and spatial balance of the applied set of data. The outcomes of research carried out by application of cartographic methods are thematic historical maps, map convolutions or atlases into which the authors transform not only the detected data, but also their ideas, theoretical views and adopted conclusions.
Eva Semotanová and Jitka Močičková
manuscript, Prague 14 April 2020
• Abraham Ortelius, Parergon, sive Veteris Geographiae aliquot Tabulae, Antwerp since 1579
• Zacharias Chatelain (?), Atlas historique, ou nouvelle introduction à l'historie, à la chronologie & à la géographie ancienne & moderne. Représentée dans de nouvelles cartes, Amsterdam 1705–1720
• Atlas antiquus Danvillianus, Nuernberg 1784
• Christian Kruse, Atlas zur Übersicht der Geschichte aller europäischen Länder und Staaten, Oldenburg, Halle 1802-1818
• Karl von Spruner, Historisch-geographischen Hand-Atlas zur Geschichte der Staaten Europa's vom Anfang des Mittelalters bis auf die neueste Zeit, Gotha 1837–1846
• Václav Merklas, Atlas starého světa [Atlas of the Old World], Prague 1850
• Atlas starého věku [Atlas of the Old Age]/ Atlas zur alten Geschichte, Prague 1863
• Jaroslav Lepař, Politický atlas k všeobecným dějinám středního a nového věku [Political Atlas on Comprehensive History of the Mediaeval and Modern Ages], Prague 1869
• František Palacký – Josef Kalousek, Historická mapa Čech [Historical Map of Bohemia], Prague 1876, 1894
• F. W. Putzger's historischer Schul-Atlas: zur alten, mittleren u. neuen Geschichte; in 27 Haupt- u. 48 Nebenkarten, Bielefeld 1877
• Josef Kalousek – Josef Brož, Historické mapy k dějinám Království českého III. [Historical Maps on the History of the Kingdom of Bohemia III], Prague 1885
• Václav Vladivoj Tomek, Mappy Prahy 1419, 1348 a 1230 [Maps of Prague 1419, 1348 and 1230], Prague 1892
• Antonín Balcar – František Kameníček – Bohuslav Horák, Historicko-zeměpisný atlas školní starého, středního a nového věku [Historical Geographical School Atlas of Prehistoric, Mediaeval and Modern Ages], Prague ‒1940
• Historický atlas revolučního hnutí [Historical Atlas of Revolutionary Movement], Prague 1956, 1959
• Školní atlas československých dějin [School Atlas of Czechosovak History], Prague 1959‒1988
• Školní atlas světových dějin [School Atlas of World History], Prague 1962‒1986
• Jaroslav Purš et al., Atlas československých dějin [Atlas of Czechoslovak History], Prague 1965
• Československý vojenský atlas [Czechoslovak Military Atlas], Prague 1965, 1966
• Miroslav Buchvaldek et al., Archeologický atlas Evropy a Československa [Archaeological Atlas of Europe and Czechoslovakia], Prague-Krakow 1979
• Etnografický atlas Čech, Moravy a Slezska [Ethnographic Atlas of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, Prague, since 1979
• Eva Semotanová et al., Historický atlas měst České republiky [Historical Czech Towns Atlas], vol. 1-31, Prague 1995-2020
• Zdeněk Boháč, Atlas církevních dějin českých zemí, 1918-1999 [Atlas of Ecclesiastical History in the Czech Lands], Kostelní Vydří 1999
• Ondřej Felcman – Eva Semotanová, Kladsko. Proměny středoevropského regionu. Historický atlas [Kłodzko. Transformations of the Central-European Region. Historical Atlas], Prague-Hradec Králové 2005
• Miroslav Buchvaldek – Andrea Lippert – Lubomír Košnar et al., Archeologický atlas pravěké Evropy/Archaeological zur prähistorischen Archäologie Europas/Archaeological Atlas of Prehistoric Europe/Archéologique de l'Europe préhistorique, Prague 2007
• Eva Semotanová et al., Česko – Ottův historický atlas [Czechia – Otto's Historical Atlas], Prague 2007
• Eva Semotanová – Jiří Cajthaml et al., Akademický atlas českých dějin [Academic Atlas of Czech History], Prague 2014, 2016
• Eva Semotanová, Zlatica Zudová-Lešková, Tomáš Janata, Pavel Seemann et Alli, Frontiers, Massacres and Replacement of Populations in Cartographic Representation Case Studies (15th-20th Centuries), Prague 2015
• Eva Semotanová a kol., Ottův historický atlas – Praha, krajina města, Prague 2016
• Eva Semotanová, Zlatica Zudová-Lešková, Jitka Močičková, Jiří Cajthaml, Pavel Seemann, Jan D. Bláha a kol., Český historický atlas. Kapitoly z dějin 20. století [Czech Historical Atlas, Chapters to the 20th Century].
• Jitka Močičková, Dějepisné atlasy v Čechách, součást evropské atlasové kartografie 19. století [Historical atlases in Bohemia, part of the 19th Century European Atlas Cartography], in: Z dějin geodézie a kartografie 18, 2016, pp. 45-60
• Jitka Močičková, Historický atlas revolučního hnutí : historickokartografické dílo jako nástroj politické propagandy v Československu 50. let 20. století [Historical Atlas of the Revolutionary Movement: historical cartographic works as tools of political propaganda in 1950s Czechoslovakia], Historická geografie 42/2, 2016, pp. 329-368
• Jan D. Bláha – Jitka Močičková, The research-analytic part of preparation of a cartographic work: a case study of an analysis of historical atlases as the basis for creating the Czech Historical Atlas, AUC GEOGRAPHICA, [S.l.], May 2018. ISSN 2336-1980. Doi: https://doi.org/10.14712/23361980.2018.6
• Ludvík Mucha, České historické atlasy [Czech Historical Atlases], Sborník Československé společnosti zeměpisné. 1961, Vol. 66, No. 3, pp. 239-251 •
• Eva Semotanová, Dějiny, současnost a perspektivy rekonstrukčních map [The History, Present and Perspectives of Reconstruction Maps], Historická geografie 34, 2007, pp. 197-215
• Eva Semotanová, Slavníkovská doména v historické kartografii [The Slavník Domain in Historical Cartography], in: A team of authors, Historiografické a historické problémy středověku, Prague 2016, pp. 26-31, 38, 169-170.
• Eva Semotanová, Stará versus historická mapa [Old Map versus Historical Map], ArcRevue 3, 2016, p. 46
• Eva Semotanová, Dějepisné mapy – zkreslený obraz historického poznání? Z dějin geodézie a kartografie [Historical Maps – a Distorted Image of Historical Knowledge? From the History of Geodesy and Cartography19], Prague, NTM 2018, pp. 83‒93