Claiming Land (one-day lesson)
In this lesson, students will examine several European maps with conflicting representations of the same geographic region. Students will begin to uncover why different European nations produced different maps. They will learn that maps played an important role in helping European countries stake territorial claims. For homework, students will consider how contemporary maps make territorial claims.
- Students will examine early European maps that demonstrate conflicting national claims to the same land.
- Students will begin to think critically about the role maps played in territorial claims.
Step 1: 10 minutes: Introduction
a) Ask students to free-write in response to the following prompt:
Different European countries often produced conflicting maps of the same geographic region. Why might that have happened?
b) Share and discuss student responses.
Step 2: 15 minutes: Examine maps
Pass out “Maps as Claims” and “War of the Maps” and have students answer questions.
Step 3: 10 minutes: Discussion
a) Share student answers.
b) Ask students:
- Why did European powers produce conflicting maps?
- Why are maps powerful weapons in territorial wars?
Step 4: 15 minutes: Read document
a) Pass out “French Mapping” and have students read document and answer questions.
b) Ask students: What does this document tell us about why certain European countries produced different maps of the same region?
Think of a region of the globe that is probably the subject of a current mapping dispute. The mapping dispute might be over borders, names, or resident population. Find two conflicting maps of that region on the internet and explain how the maps differ.