This unusual and rare thematic world map from the Interwar period (late 1920s or early 1930s) showcases history's greatest sea voyages of discovery in a visually engaging manner. Published in London, the map was part of Cassell's Children's Book of Knowledge, aiming to educate young readers about significant explorations throughout history. It is a valuable contribution to early thematic mapping, pictorial mapping, and maps designed specifically for children.
The central portion of the map features illustrations of fauna, basic geographic features, and sailing ships with their tracks, representing the exploration routes of notable figures such as Columbus, Shackleton, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Sir Francis Drake, Abel Tasman, and all three of Cook's expeditions. Modern voyages, including the first steamships to cross the Atlantic in 1838 and important polar explorations by Ross, Nansen, and Peary, are also depicted. Two circular insets display the routes of Arctic and Antarctic explorers, making the list comprehensive for the format.
The map's most striking features are its circular medallions at the top and bottom. The top medallions contain portraits of history's greatest explorers, including Marco Polo, Sir Walter Raleigh, and African expedition leaders like John Lander, David Livingstone, and Henry Morton Stanley. The title, 'Links in the Chain of Discovery,' is accompanied by a chain-link motif forming the ornamental border reminiscent of 16th-century Dutch strapwork motifs found in earlier maps.
The subtitle "Heirs of the ages who will inherit the world of tomorrow" and the accompanying images of children from around the world invite comparisons between the less diverse explorers of history and humanity's global future.