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Strange Maps

38 – The World According to Ronald Reagan

This parody map shows the world as Ronald Reagan (US president 1980-1988) might have imagined it. Even as parody, it indicates an interesting duality: on the one hand, it presents a view of the world as it no longer is, the Cold War having ended; on the other hand, it illustrates a disparaging outlook on the rest of the world that some would argue persists in to this day in American culture and foreign policy.

The map shows an ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ bipolarity, with exaggerated sizes for (non-American) ‘good guys’ such as:

  • Thatcherland (the UK – “a subsidiary of Disneyland”, in this map also including Ireland)
  • Acidrainia (a smallish rendering of Canada – “a wholly-owned US subsidiary”)
  • Grenada (the Carribean island Reagan had invaded to overthrow a socialist regime – “our airport”)
  • El Salvador (the Central American country heavily supported militarily against leftist rebels, adjacent to “our canal” which in actual fact is completely within Panamanian territory)
  • Falklands (the British archipelago off South America which the UK reconquered after an Argentinian invasion in 1983)
  • Our China (i.e. Taiwan, but oversized)
  • Japan Corporation (in the shape of an automobile, at a moment when the Japanese car industry was overtaking the homegrown manufacturers in importance)
  • Our Oil (Saudi Arabia and, one would suspect at that time also Saddam Hussein’s Iraq)
  • Israel (made out to occupy a large area of the Middle East, including Beirut – which it did in the early Eighties) 
  • The ‘bad guys’ are:

    • USSR (“godless communists, liars and spies”)
    • Poland occupies a separate place in the Soviet bloc, as its resistance against the communist system was a precursor to the wave of liberation that swept across Eastern Europe in 1989.
    • Their China (Communist China, by no means friendly with Soviet Russia – but equally ‘evil and godless’)
    • Soviet Colony (Cuba)
    • Muslim fanatics (i.e. Iran)
    • Socialists and pacifists (probably referring to the huge popular protests in Europe against the deployment of Pershing II cruise missiles by NATO)
    • Other areas are so insignificant (either in a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way that they’re portrayed as tiny:

      • Mariachiland (Mexico)
      • Bananaland (the rest of Latin America)
      • Egypt/Negroes (Africa)
      • Injuns (India, but spelled so as to refer to ‘red Indians’ – a reference to Reagan’s career as a Hollywood actor, no doubt)
      • Kangaroos(Australia)
      • Palestinian Homeland (proposed) (located in a faraway placee)
      • Interestingly, the US itself is also divided into good and bad:

        • California (oversized, as it was Reagan’s home state)
        • Republicans and other real Americans (running from Las Vegas to the White House)
        • Ecotopia (the northwest – “environmental freaks and quiche eaters”)
        • Democrats and welfare bums (the northeast – including “Big Government”)
        • Image taken from this Wikipedia page. 


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