Discovering, defining and delineating one’s territory on maps became a very important goal during the 19th century. Each nation strove to legitimize its real or coveted territory, based upon history, geography, ethnography, ideology, economy, etc. All these domains were used for the quest for one’s “heartland” and helped provide practical but also symbolic divisions which could serve as the basis for political and strategic territorial claims.

Once nation-states were created, they took upon themselves the effort of delineating their geographical enlargement and their aspired territories. Maps became a powerful instrument of propaganda in international politics, crucial for diplomacy as strategic tools for the frequent redrawing of frontiers in the region.  [more]

Map of the empire of Austria, and southern Germany and also Switzerland, Italy, European Turkey and Greece Colour lithograph by cartographer Dragutin Seljan, Vienna 1847, Croatian History Museum, Zagreb In 1847 Dragutin Seljan published the first map in the Croatian language.

Map of European Turkey, including Serbia and Wallachia Colour lithograph by Constantine Desjardins, Vienna, 1853, National Library of Serbia, Belgrade During the reign of Prince Alexander Karađorđević, Serbia was ruled by a political group known as constitution defenders, whose agenda was to improve the laws, institutions and economy of the Serbian vassal principality.

Map of the Turkish Empire, according to the treaty of Berlin Coloured lithograph by E. Stanford, Supplement to “The Queen, Lady’s Newspaper and Court Chronicle”, August 10th 1878, The Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia The map seeks to depict the new political divisions within the Ottoman Empire, commonly called “the sick man of Europe”, after the Berlin Treaty (1878).

Humoristic Map of Europe in the Year 1870 Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin Humoristic map of the political and diplomatic situation in Europe after the Franco- Prussian war.

European Turkey and her Dependencies at the beginning of the war of 1877 Ethnographic map by Karl Sax, 1877/1878, National Museum of History, Sofia Karl Sax, a diplomat of Austria-Hungary in the Ottoman Empire (consul in Sarajevo, Ruse and Edirne), collected ethnographic material and published this ethnographic map, which received high praise from the Austrian Geographic Society.

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