Encounters in the New World

Jesuit Cartography of Americas

Lecture by Mirela Altic on 7 November 2023

In this lecture Mirela Altic analyses maps produced by the Jesuits during their missionary work in the possessions of the Spanish, Portuguese, and French Crowns in both North and South Americas. She traces the Jesuit contribution to mapping and mapmaking from their arrival in the New World into the post-suppression period, placing it in the context of their worldwide undertakings in the fields of science and art. Altic’s analysis shows the incorporation of indigenous knowledge into the Jesuit maps, effectively making them an expression of cross-cultural communication—even as they were tools of colonial expansion. Far more than just a physical survey of unknown space, Jesuit mapping was in fact the most important link to enable exchange of ideas and cultural concepts between Old World and the New.

For this lecture Mirela Altic draws on insights from her beautifully illustrated book which was published under the same title with the University of Chicago Press in 2022.

Dr. Mirela Altic is a Chief Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences and Full Professor in the Department of History, University of Zagreb where she has been teaching history students how to use maps as a historical resource for over twenty years. She specializes in social history of maps, cross-cultural knowledge exchange and early modern encounters. She is the author of twenty-two books and numerous scholarly papers and is a contributor to The History of Cartography Project (University of Wisconsin Madison/ University of Chicago Press). Over the last decade she has published extensively on the on Jesuit cartography and their contribution to the history of mapmaking and exploration in general. 

Mirela Altic

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Date & Time

Tuesday 7 November 2023
8.00 – 9.30 p.m.


University of Antwerp
City Campus – Hof van Liere
Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp


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