When most of us think of history, we think of events and characters – pioneers, revolutionaries, leaders, and common folk. In comparison, maps might seem like mere background material. Can a bunch of squiggly shapes and criss-crossing lines really tell us much about our history?
During his long and lauded career as a historical writer, Carlos Quirino wrote dozens of acclaimed books on the lives of famous figures. And yet he also had a passion for the study of old maps, which he brought to life with his landmark Philippine Cartography.
Quirino understood that maps reflect not only physical landmasses and geographical advances, but the times in which they were made. With his engaging and articulate writing, he shows us how the Philippines was “born” as a concept and evolved in the public consciousness over the centuries, through the work of mapmakers and engravers from Europe and Asia. From that first sixteenth-century map that used the name “Filipina” to label a single tiny, narrow island, the archipelago that we know today gradually took shape.
Out of print for decades, Quirino’s classic is brought to light once more in this revised and expanded third edition, published by Vibal Foundation as part of its Filipiniana Clasica imprint. Renowned map expert Dr. Leovio Ma. Garcia edited this volume and wrote a new introduction, highlighting the love of cartography which he shares with Quirino and imparts to the readers. Artfully designed and illustrated with 120 beautifully reproduced maps and views, full of intricate detail and color, from local and international collections, the book is an object of beauty as well as a scholarly triumph.
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