California, an island? Meet cartography's most persistent mistake

The Glen McLaughlin Collection brings together more than 700 historical examples of 'California as an island'.

Image: © Stanford University, CC BY-NC 3.0
  • California was born a fiction: named after a made-up island the name of which could be translated as 'caliphate'.
  • For centuries, California was a cartographic fiction as well: it was shown as an island until as late as 1865.
  • Over 40 years, Glen McLaughlin dug up more than 700 maps of California as an island – the world's biggest collection on cartography's most persistent mistake.
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Strange Maps

U.S. in Top 10 of most dangerous countries for women

#MeToo and #TimesUp catapult America into the club of world's most anti-women countries

Image: Statista / Thomson Reuters Foundation (CC)
  • India tops a global ranking of most dangerous countries for women
  • Most other countries in the Top 10 cluster together in an Indo-Arab-African window of 'female-unfriendliness'
  • One outlier: the United States – 10th most dangerous country for women
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Strange Maps

Paris, destroyed: A map of buildings lost to history

Notre Dame was almost torched in 1871, when Communards set Paris' major buildings ablaze.

Image: Bibliothèque nationale de France
  • Following the blaze that ripped through Notre Dame, it feels like Paris had lost a major link to its past.
  • But the cathedral is lucky to have survived this far: It was almost torched by revolutionaries in 1871.
  • As the world's first communist revolt was crushed, other Parisian landmarks were set ablaze – many of which were lost forever.
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Strange Maps

These are the world’s most fragile states in 2019

Yemen leads the list of the most fragile nations, with the U.S. and U.K. among the "most worsened."

MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images

There are some rankings no nation wants to lead.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Why the south of Westeros is the north of Ireland

As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.

Image: YouTube / Doosh
  • The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
  • But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
  • Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
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Strange Maps