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American Shores Maps of the Middle Atlantic Region to 1850 The New York Public Library
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Coastal and Oceanic Nautical Charts

The Atlantic Ocean was a bridge, not a barrier, connecting America to the West Indies and European trading partners. Regular crossings were established by the Spanish soon after Columbus's voyages, linked to the trade winds that facilitated sailing over the expanse of water.

Dutch Oceanic Chart
catalog record

On this beautiful Dutch chart of the "Spannish Zee betwixt t' chanell and the I. Cuba," the east and western shores of the Atlantic are hand-colored in beautiful hues of yellow, pink, and green.

Chart of the Atlantic Ocean
catalog record

In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin described and mapped the Gulf Stream, which sailors had long known made for faster sailing toward England than the reverse journey.

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