Episode 256: Christian Koot, Mapping Empire in the Chesapeake

How do empires come to be? How are empires made and who makes them?

What role do maps play in making empires?

Christian Koot is a Professor of History at Towson University and the author of A Biography of a Map in Motion: Augustine Herrman’s Chesapeake. Christian has researched and written two books about the seventeenth-century Anglo-Dutch World to better understand empires and how they are made. Today, he joins us to take us through his research and to share what one specific map, Augustine Herrman’s 1673 map Virginia and Maryland, reveals about empire and empire making.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.

Episode Summary

Christian Koot, a Professor of History at Towson University, has researched and written two books about the seventeenth-century Anglo-Dutch World to investigate how empires are made and who makes them.

Using details from his book, A Biography of A Map in Motion, Christian reveals information about a merchant named Augustine Herrman and how Herrman became a mapmaker; The seventeenth-century world of Virginia, Maryland, and New Netherland; And details about Herrman’s 1673 map Virginia and Maryland, and what Herrman’s map reveals about empire and empire making in the seventeenth century.

What You’ll Discover

  • Mapmaker Augustine Herrman
  • The early American world of Augustine Herrman
  • Herrman’s map Virginia and Maryland (1673)
  • Why biography is a helpful genre for exploring objects
  • How women made Atlantic trade networks possible
  • The world of the 17th-century Chesapeake, Virginia & Maryland
  • The politics of early Maryland
  • The need for an accurate map of Maryland, Virginia, & the Chesapeake
  • How Augustine Herrman created a more accurate map of Virginia & Maryland
  • Mapmaking in the 17th century
  • Creating a printed map from a hand-drawn map
  • Buying a map in the 17th century
  • Interest in a map of Virginia and Maryland
  • Why we should know about Augustine Herrman and mapmaking in the 17th century


Links to People, Places, and Publications

Sponsor Links

Production of this episode was made possible by a grant from the Roller-Bottimore Foundation of Richmond, Virginia.

Complementary Episodes


Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

In your opinion, what might have happened if the English conquest of New Netherland had never happened? If New Netherland had remained Dutch, how would the history of Atlantic trade and the Chesapeake be different?

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