The Croatian History Museum’s Map Collection encompasses maps, street maps and atlases compiled from the sixteenth century to contemporary cartographic editions from the end of the twentieth century. The bulk of the collection, with over 2,000 exponents, consists of cartographic depictions of the Croatian lands through history, followed by maps of European regions and states. Cartographic documents can be found registered in the first inventory logs, and they have been recognized as valuable museum materials and thus collected since the beginning of the museum’s operations. Maps are primarily an historical source in the Croatian History Museum’s inventory, and they were collected because of their documentary value in compliance with the mission of a national history museum. They testify to the history of the Croatian lands, political borders and administrative organization, economic and cultural development in specific periods and the history of wars. Thus, in the presentation of historical themes, maps are a valuable and oft-used museum exponents.
There are few hand-made maps and street maps in the Croatian History Museum’s Map Collection, as the bulk of the collection consists of printed maps. The oldest map in the CHM’s Collection is Claudius Ptolemy’s Fifth Map of Europe, published in Ulm in 1482. Data on the Ottoman conquests appear on the cartographic depictions of Croatia in the sixteenth century. As an example, there is the Map of Illyricum by Sebastian Munster from 1552 on which Bilaj (Wellai) in Lika is marked as an Ottoman possession (conquered in 1528).
The map production of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is represented in the Collection by over four hundred cartographic depictions of Croatia and neighbouring countries by the best European cartographers of that era. Among others, the Collection includes maps by G. Mercator, G. de Jode, A. Ortelius, J. Sambucus, A. Hirschvogel, J. Bussemacher, J. Jansson, W. Blaeu, H. Hondius, J. Vischer, J. Speed, G. Gastaldi, G. Cantelli, V. M. Coronelli, N. Sanson, M. Seuter, J. B. Homann, C. Schutz, F. Muller, F. J. J. Reilly and other notable map-makers and publishers.
Among the cartographic materials from the nineteenth century, the most numerous in the Collection are maps published in Vienna, Graz and Budapest, and maps of Croatia printed in Zagreb. After conducting a land survey of the entire Empire (the First Josephinian Cartographic Register, 1763-1787), Austria assumed the highest rank in world cartography, which was reflected in the finest cartographic publications of the time. The best cartographic depiction of Croatia based on the maps of the Josephine land survey was compiled by Colonel Johann Lipszky. When he published the Map of Hungary, Croatia, Slavonia… in Budapest in 1806, Lipszky made detailed military land measurements available to the widest public.
The systematic topographic surveying of the Habsburg Monarchy, the application of new measurement methods and the development of reproduction techniques facilitated the production of maps with a high degree of accuracy in the portrayal not only of geographic tracts but also other cartographic content on maps of the empire, including the Croatian lands. The Croatian History Museum’s Collection includes one of the finest cartographic depictions of the Austrian Empire from the nineteenth century, a map by J. Scheda, General-Karte des Oestereichischen Kaiserstaates, published in Vienna in 1856. The Collection also holds the first printed maps of the Croatian lands in the Croatian language: Zemljovid Carevine Austrianske…[Map of the Austrian Empire], by D. Seljan, Vienna, 1847; Krajobraz krunovinah Hervatske i Slavonie… [Landscape of the Kingdoms of Croatia and Slavonia], by J. Bermann, Vienna, 1851; and Zemljovid Hervatske i Slavonije s Krajinom vojničkom… [Map of Croatia and Slavonia ], by M. Katzenschlager, Zagreb, 1857 (dedicated to Ban Josip Jelačić). The cartographic materials of the twentieth century held in the Croatian History Museum’s Collection document the political and administrative changes in Croatia’s territory during the twentieth century, the state unions that included Croatia and their structure and the independence of the Republic of Croatia. The map by Zvonimir Križovan, Republika Hrvatska [Republic of Croatia], Zagreb, 1991, is the first map of independent Croatia, which Križovan donated to the Croatian History Museum for incorporation into its Map Collection.
Iva Katarina Pugelnik, Curator