Tampa Bay Map Exhibit

1630 Florida et Regiones Vicinae Map

A decade after Columbus sailed across the Atlantic, explorers were still speculating about the contours of the New World. Today’s experts remain uncertain about when, exactly, Europeans first set foot in La Florida, but by 1511, a historian named Pieter Martyr labeled the unknown land north of Cuba “Isla de Beimeni,” the native Indian name for what is now Florida.  Martyr’s hand-drawn sketch is just one of more than 150 maps featured in Charting the Land of Flowers: 500 Years of Florida Maps, opening Sept. 21 at the Tampa Bay History Center.

One of the most comprehensive exhibitions of Florida cartography ever presented, Charting the Land of Flowers traces six centuries of Florida history, bringing together maps from museum and library collections around the world, many of which will be on view to the public for the first time.

 The exhibit offers viewers a rare opportunity to see the world as early European explorers saw it, and to watch the peninsula that would become one of the South’s most populous states evolve before their eyes. They’ll see that much of the earliest European exploration of North America occurred not in New England, but in Florida and the Southeast, while early railroad maps and tourist brochures vibrantly illustrate Florida’s evolution into America’s No. 1 tourist destination. 

Read the rest of the press release here: