The three readings this week all helped to reinforce the themes from last week regarding the political and military use of maps. The ability to quite literally “wipe someone off the map,” how this was used to devastating effect against the Native American populations, and how what a map did or did not portray influenced the colonization of the Americas. But what struck me in particular was how something as simple as changing a name could influence opinions. I suppose I had never really considered how something as simple as naming part of the country “New England” helped reinforce the ideas that the place rightfully belonged to England, no matter the opinions of those living there.
My mind made the connection between the naming of the Americas and political maps of later years, like the map mentioned last class that classified Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia as one country but refused to recognize the Soviet annexation of the Baltic countries, or maps I studied in Hebrew school as a kid that classified Israel as “disputed territory.” It truly goes to show how one can never underestimate the political power inherent in something as simple as a map, and how merely changing the name or a boundary can have immense consequences for those who may disagree.