Historical world maps are full of secrets. They sometimes exclude entire hemispheres or add imagined continents that never existed. And world map changes over time reveal just how much humanity's view of the planet has evolved through the centuries.
How was the world map created? Some of the earliest world maps focus on the three known continents - Europe, Africa, and Asia - and often disorient modern viewers by placing east or south at the top. Many of them are inventive, creative works of art. Maps through time have been adapted and changed according to the people making them and viewing them, giving us a particularly unique glimpse into the past.
Maps of the world also reveal how different cultures saw themselves and their place in the world. Was the center of the world Jerusalem, or Mount Meru? Was the earth mostly land, or mostly water? And is the ocean blue, or green? World maps are rich historical windows to the past, and here are just a few of the most striking.