The island of California

Pieter Goos nautical chart of New Granada and the island of California
I had about an hour between appointments in midtown Manhattan yesterday morning so I went to the New York Public Library to see their magnificent exhibition of treasures from their map collection.

As a new Californian, I particularly liked the Pieter Goos nautical chart of New Granada and “the island of California”, published in 1668. Some wry curator at the library had this to say: “Perhaps a prediction of things to come, this is a most dramatic portrayal of California as an island.”

I suspect the author had recently seen the Superman movie where evil genius Lex Luthor, played by Gene Hackman, plots to explode a nuclear bomb along the San Andreas fault, thereby giving his vast range of desert property a new, oceanfront location. Or maybe it’s just the view of an island-dwelling Manhattanite that only islands can be significant centers.

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