Northern Maps: re-negotiating space and place in the Northern Isles and Norway in the eighteenth century

Silke Reeploeg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
428 Downloads (Pure)


Topographical and geographical accounts, together with antiquarian and archaeological documentation changed perceptions of the coastal regions of Northern Scotland, particularly during the eighteenth century, mapping territories previously perceived as peripheral and part of Nordic, rather than Scottish or British mental maps. New political and social contexts required a redefinition of these Northern areas, from under-explored and politically insignificant, to regions of both commercial and cultural interest. Northern map production thus formed part of a complex re-negotiation of coastal space and place, communicated through both national and regional Scottish, British and Dano-Norwegian cartography.

This article examines the shared eighteenth century chorographical approaches (representations of regional space and place) in Northern Scotland and Western Norway in both topographical descriptions and historical maps. Using examples from the Scottish Northern Isles and Western Norway, it argues that the practices of mapping and charting provided both a unifying visual vocabulary, but also an opportunity for the continuation and visual representation of diverse regional coastal identities during the eighteenth century. The close link between chorography and historiography will be investigates, and related to other motivations and narratives (such as commerce or travel literature), which impacted on the practice of mapping and cartographic work. The paper uncovers both transnational and regional aspects of the cultural-historical processes of re-negotiating space and place in Northern Scotland, and demonstrates how perceptions of coastal regions were constructed and represented through cartographical narratives on both sides of the North Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-48
Number of pages24
JournalNorthern Scotland
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2015
Event(Re)producing the North: Space, Knowledge, Maps - Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 5 Dec 20147 Dec 2014


  • cartography
  • cultural transfer
  • scotland
  • norway
  • history


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