Imperiia: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Wild Things

What can you learn from a map that is over 300 years old and written in a language you (most likely) cannot read?

Let's find out!

This map is about 320 years old. It was made in Siberia (click here to read what Encyclopedia Britannica says about Siberia) and shows one of the coldest, most remote parts of what was the Russian Empire. The only copy ever made is now in the collection of Houghton Library in Cambridge and you can flip through every page of the full atlas by clicking here.

The official name of the map is "Map of the town of Mangazeya and surrounding area," but we prefer to think of it as the "Wild Things" map. It won't take you long to figure out why. All maps tell stories, but this particular map tells lots and lots of stories - about fires and polar bears and dogsleds and more.

When you are ready to begin, click here.

(Don't worry if you can't read the words. To have fun with this map, all you need is your imagination and a mouse - touchscreens won't work.)

If you would like to download a PDF of the map, you can do so here.

Now, go explore those crazy squiggly lines and colored squares, and don't forget to try the Treasure Hunt!

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