Cool maps of deformed Great Lakes

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Most people love Lake Michigan.

The 17th century German mapmaker Herman Moll isn’t most people. His depictions of Lake Superior and Lake Huron dwarf the region’s favorite in a 1711 map of “ye North Parts of America.”

The historical map is one of many offered by greatlakesmaps.org, a collaborative project of Wisconsin’s Water Library, the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant program and other Wisconsin institutions.

The 1711 map may not be geographically accurate – last time I checked Lake Huron wasn’t heart-shaped – but it’s revealing. The British crafted it in response to an earlier French map that minimized the nation’s holdings, according to the Web site.

Moll became a popular publisher of American maps in his time. He’s probably the reason Lake Superior has such a huge ego.

As for the lakes, depictions somewhat improved in time. See for yourself: There are 32 maps covering 300 years of mapmaking in the region and 76 historical lake charts from the United States Lake Survey.

Note: Map files are large; it takes time to download.

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