Sunday, October 11, 2009

How Maps Can Tell Stories

- all 3 maps are stories of journeys (2 are specific points in time; 1 is an annual event)
- focus on journey first & see how well maps tell it
- climate plays a large role in all of the journeys
- 2 stories focus on loss of life; 1 journey involves births, as well (but map doesn't show it)

Russian Campaign 1812-1813
- Russia broke treaty promises with France (embargo against Britian, et. al) & if he didn't attack, then Russia would attack his forces in Poland (Grand Duchy of Warsaw)
- Napoleon attempted to negotiate, but was unable to; didn't want to fight; had another war going on in Spain at the same time w/ 200,000 men
- Napoleon expected a quick and easy defeat; thought the Grand Armee would be engaged quickly & never intended to go all the way to Moscow; Russia's armies were divided by several days & together only numbered 200,000
on June 23, 1812 roughly half a million soldiers crossed the Niemen River into czarist Russia; the biggest ever assembled in history to that point; made up of roughly 20 countries (i.e. 20 different languages; different and/or lack of motivation); 1/3 French; 2/3 other countries
- well-prepared for a summer campaign; Charles XII of Sweden had been defeated by Russians in 1709 & Napoleon studied this, determined not to let Russia's winter defeat him; “A major system of advance supply depots was planned and the attacking forces carried 14 days' provisions, evidence that a prompt settlement was expected”
- also shows movement of auxiliary troops (upper side detachment)
- weather turns bad; by some measure, the weather going in was worse; heat became intolerable; soldiers died from thirst, exhaustion & heat stroke & the horses were also unprepared for this campaign (no spare horses, so when they die, the supplies don't move forward; someone doesn't ride a horse, etc.)
- lost men due to heat, desertion (not typically French, but men from other countries), leaving people behind to protect the flank & skirmishes (Russians refused to give significant battles; were skirmishes that the Grand Armee won all of)
- in September, 100,000 reach Moscow (already burning, sacked & deserted by the Russians)
- only way to win eventually became to defeat the Russian army (which joined together at some point) & they withdrew to Moscow; Napoleon didn't think they would allow him to take Moscow unopposed b/c it was the heart of Russia (w/ the Kremlin, etc.)
sent emissaries to negotiate peace while in Moscow; met with silence from St. Petersburg
- stayed in Moscow for 35 days (kept hoping Czar Alexander would give in) – transition between autumn and the bitterness of the Russian winter; too cold, not enough facilities for his men, not enough men, not enough way to protect forces, supply lines were very long, how long should Napoleon be away from Paris (plots against him), limited opportunities for reinforcements; Russians had unlimited opportunities to increase their military forces surrounding him so Napoleon finally decides to leave & return
decides to take a more southerly route that will avoid the potentially worst weather; also going back same way would have come across same scorched earth
- engagement as they begin to return to Poland; Napoleon wins; turns north & starts retracing steps b/c feels unsure...not many calvary, men are getting tired; had he continued south, the path was mostly open
- returns to the battlefield of Borodino; had been several months since they had fought; 10s of 1000s of French soldier bodies were still there
- December 3 (discussing weather turning terrible on November 7) “This army so fine on the 6th was very different on the 14th : lost a lot of calvalry, artillery, men
- supply depot in Smolensk; not enough food for everyone
- people literally froze to death while they were walking; a lot froze to death at night – didn't have appropriate clothing b/c it was - never meant to be a winter campaign
- finally reach the Berezina River: one of the earliest & coldest winters but not cold enough to freeze the Berezina river so had to build bridges (Russians had destroyed existing bridges)
- engineers build 2 bridges: one to move men, one to move horses, supplies, artillery, etc.
- Russians are attacking from both sides, but the crossing is fairly orderly at first
- soldiers waiting to cross, friendly-Russians who need to leave, women & other hanger-ons & there's a great panic & 22,000 die in 2 days (from 50,000); burn bridges as they cross
- Napoleon decides he's more needed in Paris, so he doesn't stay with the army anymore
- crossed back over the Nieman River with only 10,000 survivors
- “By the time the remains of Napoleon's army reached home, more than 1000 pieces of artillery, 200,000 horses & 570,000 men had been left behind in the glaciated terrain of northwest Russia”

Formal Qualities of Map
- includes Minard's name & credentials, as well as 5 sources for his information
- shows a possible connection between temperature and death of the army; warmest temp recorded is 32°F
- shows 6 variables: army's size, its location (lat & long), its movement/direction, temperature (linked only to dark return line) and dates
- published in November 1869 with a map showing Hannibal's diminishing army in the Alps
- an “anti-war” map
- focused on the human cost of life in war
- Napoleon's name does not appear; thus giving full attention to “memorializing the dead soldiers than celebrating the surviving celebrity”
- enhancement of river lines
- aggregation and simplification of Grand Armee
- selection of cities represented
- shows cold temperatures relation w/ diminishing size but actually many more were lost in the summer

Misc. Facts
- shelves & shelves of books related to this single event in time – amazing that Minard's map can tell the story as well as it does
ate a lot of horse meat on the way home
- Borodino: one of the best preserved battlefields in the world
- climates in Russia vary considerably but “every section has cold winters that are exceptionally severe in the northern forests and tundra”
- Russia, being deep within land mass, has minimized maritime effects, “being replaced by continentality, which ensures a climate of extremes”; France's climate is mostly “influenced by air that originates over the Atlantic Ocean and penetrates inland to lessen temperature extremes, both winter & summer. These milder conditions exist primarily because the ocean heats & cools more slowly than the terrain of Asia. That is, unlike land, water warms slowly while absorbing and storing large amonths of energy, only to gradually release it to overlying air year-round”
- Russian army leadership was weak & Alexander had never led troops into battle before
- the toll of both French & Russian casualties is estimated between 700,000-1,000,000
- Russian roads weren't built to accommodate 600,000 men marching across them w/ wagons, ammunition, cannonballs, etc.; impassable b/c of sheer number of men (communication slows as it becomes difficult to move through ranks)...not mud or anything
Russia doing scorched-earth policy
- “the impact of rain, snow and ice on trafficability and mobility can be critical”; functionality of weaponry & machinery can be impacted, as well as moving ballistics & even having reduced visibility
- Napoleon hopes the battle of Borodino will be the decisive victory that would lead to peace
- extreme heat & mud (worst mud in spring & autumn) from summer rains probably presented some problems, but the cold would prove to be more lethal than the enemy
- Charles Minard: 1781-1870; 88 when map was published; a renowned engineer; did large public works projects and designed canals, bridges, roads & docks; retired at age 70 & spent the next 18 years working on figurative maps, mostly military; was confined in Antwerp in 1813 during bombardment; images which stuck with him
- Napoleon: 1769-1821

Trail of Tears
- Trail of Tears was the government-sanctioned forced relocation of Cherokees from their homelands in the deep south to Oklahoma in 1838
- no exact figures on the death toll, but roughly between 2,000-4,000 (out of roughly 12,000-16,000 Cherokee who initially resisted location); estimates of 1 in 4 dying
- thousand-mile forced march began in winter of 1838 for women, men & children
- many died from disease (given blankets with small pox), cold and starvation in internment camps before the march began (kept in camps while their farms were auctioned to white settlers)
- farmers charged Cherokees high tolls for crossing, including ferries, their land, etc.
- started off as a drought, then rained a lot then was very cold (similar to Napoleon's march...not sure about the drought in Russia, but there was a lot of rain before it turned cold); made navigating rivers dangerous for travel
- “Ross's party reached Fort Smith in Indian Territory by March 1839, the last to arrive. Some groups had spent three months on the road. Others marched as long as six months through six states and territories.” (John Ross was a Cherokee leader)

Formal Qualities of Trail of Tears map
- simplification/enhancement of state borders
- enhancement of rivers
- abbreviation (of river names)
- displacement of city names (connecting line - feel like there was a term for this; look again)
- probable aggregation/smoothing of area features of Cherokee Nation (east)
- time-series map

Trail of Tears map contrast to Napoleon map
- no return journey (from one group of 875 Cherokees, only 602 reached the territory alive)
- doesn't show loss of life, dates, temperatures (which affected death rate here, as well); no accurate record of precipitation or temperatures during the relocation time periods; information comes from scattered first-hand accounts of the hardships
- not an emotional representation; legend says "Routes of Emigration"; neutral/misleading term - who commissioned this map? - Unable to discover origin/background during brief research
- doesn't tell you the assumptions made in creating the map
- shows movement direction (directly by using arrows)
- Napoleon map reads more quickly, as it moves from left to right & back again (at least it starts out like reading); Trail of Tears moves right to left to create a slightly awkward/uncomfortable "read" of the map (which also necessitates use of directional arrows)

Hummingbird Migration Map
- hummingbirds: at least 341 species; roughly 21 that breed in the U.S. & have to migrate due to food sources
- males are highly territorial: head N in the spring at least a week before females do to establish territory & will also leave 2 weeks before females & babies to head S in the fall
- migration has to take place well before cold weather, not b/c they can't tolerate cold but b/c their food supply can't
- “return migrants are well-timed to match blooming of hummingbird-pollinated food plants”
- early return for males = better territory/possible death
- routes are sustained only if they're effective & enough of the population remains; gradually change routes...not immediate
- “climate & changing weather patterns are the major influences that shape migratory routes & destinations”; misjudging conditions can lead to death or ending up in odd places, due to drifting & being unable to stay on course

Formal Qualities of Hummingbird Map (from memory - will need to check & revise)
- selection and enhancement of rivers
- smoothing and simplification of land
- area conversion (of hummingbird pop)
- time-series map
- tells assumptions: unless otherwise indicated, birds travel out from & back to their breeding grounds on the same route

Hummingbird Map contrast to Napoleon map
- shows direction & round trip return
- shows regionality rather than population size (how would births affect this map?)
- indicates seasonal cause for movement
- explanation for having a different route home?

Misc. Facts
- 1/2 the world's bird species migrate
- week of migration is usually pre-ordained but exact date is determined by weather
- migration is instinctive; black cap example: birds bred in W fly SW; birds bred in E fly SE; hybrid birds fly S & die over Alps; "survival lies in keeping to the migratory divide"
- birds can be tricked into speeding up their breeding, molting, migratory restlessness & putting on weight (normal yearly cycle) by light exposure; the record is held by a starling who was tricked into molting 8 times in one year

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