Maps of the World

Our ancestors had a simplistic view of a flat Earth. For early sailors, it seemed very plausible. They did not have the technology or historic records in which to base an accurate theory. These early explorers truly believed that if you sailed too far, you would literally drop off the face of the Earth.

With more explorations and the basic human desire for knowledge came the creation of maps of the world. The oldest map, according to historians, was drawn on a cave wall sometime around 6000 BC. This map outlined a small village and provided references for housing and other buildings. According to experts, the earliest known map of the world dates back to the 6th Century BC and was produced by early Babylonians. It is likely that the practice of mapping locations was around even before humans acquired a spoken language.

The first highly sophisticated map of the world is credited to an early geographer. Ptolemy, who lived during the 2nd Century AD, was a forward thinker and one of the first scientists to assert that the Earth was indeed round. Much to the dismay of his critics, Ptolemy designed the first map of the world that depicted the Earth as a spherical being. Although Ptolemy believed that the sun revolved around the Earth, he was certainly a creative and scholarly academic who helped to shape the future of maps of the world. He was the first to depict the Earth as round yet drawn onto a flat surface.

With centuries of advancing technology, we are fortunate to have a wealth of information to draw upon. Maps of the world are available in many formats and varying designers often add a personal touch. Maps of the world can be located at various sites across the Internet; the history of these maps are intriguing and give us good insight on how the quest for human knowledge has led us to a better understand of the world in which we live.

Learn more about a national geographic map at