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Featured Maps! Changing National Borders

Theme for the week: Changing National Borders

April 23-May 11, 2018

History is always changing, never remaining stagnant. New discoveries and perspectives change not only the way we perceive the world, but also ourselves. Among the many factors that form our identities, nationality has become one of the major influences. We tend to view national borders as fixed and rigid, but they are as susceptible to change as we are. We know that all nations had a starting point in which they were young, small, and growing. The United States certainly did not reach across the North American continent in 1776. In Europe, Germany wasn’t a united nation until 1871 despite Germanic peoples having existed since antiquity.

Borders move as much as people do, and sometimes even more so. Someone living in the region of Texas in the eighteenth century may have been a Spanish colonist. That person’s hypothetical grandchildren born in the same area after the 1820s but before 1836 could be considered a Mexican subject. Those grandchildren’s children raised there after 1845 would have been American citizens, provided they weren’t subject to exclusionary laws. Sometimes, people are not the ones who cross borders–it is borders that cross people.


Come to the Map Collection and look for this sign:



The twentieth century saw the first total wars spanning across continents and oceans in World War I and World War II and the rise of Nationalism, which reshaped geopolitical boundaries around the world. Empires were dissolved, nations were broken up, and new sovereign states were inducted into historical memory.

Title: Johnson’s Western Hemisphere ; Johnson’s Eastern Hemisphere

by Johnson, A. J. (Alvin Jewett), 1827-1884. Johnson & Browning (2006)

Call Number: MAP G3200 1861 .J6 2006

Title: Hammond’s comprehensive map of the world : on Mercator’s projection

by C.S. Hammond & Company (1930)

Call Number: MAP G3200 1930 .H2


Africa was extensively colonized by Europe in the nineteenth century, and its territorial borders changed as imperial empires competed for dominance. Of these imperial powers, France and Britain controlled most of the continent. Human trafficking and resource exploitation fueled these colonial projects, resulting in a legacy that affects the nations there today. The political map of Africa changed many times in its history, from the Scramble for Africa prior to World War I to the wave of decolonization following World War II.

Title: Africa

by United States. Central Intelligence Agency (2007)

Call Number: MAP G8200 2007 .U5

Title: How Africa lines up today

by Lenz, Russell H. (1968)

Call Number: MAP G8201.F2 1968 .L4

Title: Africa

by National Geographic Society (U.S.). Cartographic Division. Darley, Richard J.; Shupe, John F. (1980)

Call Number: MAP G8200 1980 .N2

Title: Map of Africa : and adjoining portions of Europe and Asia

by National Geographic Society (U.S.) (1922)

Call Number: MAP G8200 1922 .N2

Title: The Daily Telegraph map of Africa

by Geographia Ltd (1964)

Call Number: MAP G8201.F7 1964 .G3


Europe’s national boundaries changed more than a few times during the twentieth century, especially in the post-World War I and post-World War II periods. Contemporary Europe includes over thirty different countries. Pre-World War I Europe included about twenty countries. If we also incorporate the imperial empires, then European territory covers much more than the continent itself in the pre-World War II era, in which the sun never set upon these empires.

Title: L’Europe divisée en tous ses etats

by Longchamps, géographe (1998?)

Call Number: MAP G5700 1754 .L6

Title: The European Community, member states, regions and administrative units

by Kormoss, I. B. F. Commission of the European Communities.; Institut français du pétrole. Bureau d’études industrielles et de coopération (1979)

Call Number: MAP G5701.F5 1979 .K63

Title: Europe and the Mediterranean

by National Geographic Society (U.S.). Cartographic Division (1938)

Call Number: MAP G5700 1938 .N2

Title: Europe ; Europe in transition

by National Geographic Maps (Firm) Carroll, Allen.; Suominen-Summerall, Sally.; Haub, Carl.; De Blij, Harm J. (2005)

Call Number: MAP G5700 2005 .N2


As a concept, the idea of a single state for all Slavic peoples has existed since the seventeenth century. This idea came to fruition in 1918 with the collapse of Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I. The area was previously dominated by the Ottoman Empire as well. The Axis Powers invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, and the monarchy was abolished by 1945. The Powers split the country into individual states controlled by imperial regimes. When Yugoslavia formally dissolved in 1992, the states the Axis Powers had established became new Slavic nations. Where Yugoslavia once stood now stands Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina.

Title: Yugoslavia

by United States. Central Intelligence Agency (1973)

Call Number: MAP G6840 1973 .U7

Title: The Balkans

by United States. Central Intelligence Agency (1993)

Call Number: MAP G6800 1993 .U6

Title: Peoples of Yugoslavia, distribution by opština, 1981 census

by United States. Central Intelligence Agency (Date)

Call Number: MAP G6841.E1 1983 .U5

Title: The Balkans

by National Geographic Maps (Firm) (2000)

Call Number: MAP G6800 2000 .N2

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has been colonized by many different imperial powers such as: China, Japan, France, the Netherlands, and the United States. Its geographic location is advantageous for trade and military, as seen with the Philippines, which had been a Spanish colony until the U.S. drove back the Spanish to establish its own imperial rule in 1898.

Title: Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands from the Indies and the Philippines to the Solomons

by National Geographic Society (U.S.). Cartographic Division. Darley, James M. (James Morrison) (1944)

Call Number: MAP G8000 1944 .N2

Title: Southeast Asia

by United States. Central Intelligence Agency (2002)

Call Number: MAP G8000 2002 .U6 Vertical File

Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos

Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos make up a part of Indochina, a term used to refer to Mainland Southeast Asia that was created and popularized by European intellectuals in the nineteenth century. It was adopted officially by France when these three countries became a collective colony known as French Indochina. All three were involved in the Vietnam War, a war that caused great suffering and a global legacy that is embedded in historical memory.

Title: Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand

by National Geographic Society (U.S.). Cartographic Division. Chamberlin, Wellman.; Grazzini, Athos D. (1967)

Call Number: MAP G8000 1967 .N2

Title: Indochina

by United States. Central Intelligence Agency (1985)

Call Number: MAP G8000 1985 .U6 Vertical File


Malaysia is one such nation that did not exist until 1963. Prior to the unification, the area of Malaysia was known as the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore. Even after its establishment, national borders changed once again when the federation expelled Singapore in 1965. Malaysia has the second largest overseas Chinese population in the world at over 6.6 million Malaysian Chinese and Peranakan Chinese.

Title: Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry Investment map of Malaysia

by Malaysia. International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (1991)

Call Number: MAP G8031.G1 1991 .M2

Title: Malaysia

by Malaya. Survey Department (1963)

Call Number: MAP G8030 1963 .M2

Title: Malaysia

by United States. Central Intelligence Agency (1998)

Call Number: MAP G8030 1998 .U6 Vertical File


Map Collection: Location and Hours

The Map Collection room is normally open to the public in the basement (Lower Level) of Shields Library, Monday-Friday, 1:00-5:00 pm. However, our hours change around the academic calendar and the holiday season. To see the most accurate schedule, please visit this link: click here.

Contact the Special Collections Department for map related questions by email at or by phone at 530-752-1621.

Post created by Dawn Collings and Jeanelle Wan.


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