Think about how you learned history in school. Did people or things tend to just teleport from one content to another without any explanation of how they got there, or why they departed or arrived by that route, or what the voyage meant to them? Certainly not all histories neglect the sea, but enough do that to make an effort to reorient the way you think about aquatic spaces can radically alter how you analyze a historic place or process that you thought you understood.
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On October 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown led an interracial group of men on a raid on the armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Brown hoped to arm slaves and instigate a slave rebellion. The mission failed, and Brown became a villain in the South, but his trial and execution for treason made him a martyr in the North and inspired one of the United States’ most enduring national hymns.
What, precisely, is a map? And, more important, what work do maps do?