This page provides access to scans of some of the 18th-century maps of Central Europe that are held at the University of Chicago Library's Map Collection.
By "Central Europe" we mean the area in the middle part of Europe that, in the 18th century, was largely administered by members of the German-speaking nobility (although most of the inhabitants of its eastern third were ethnic Slavs and Hungarians). Its boundaries, with some notable exceptions, coincided roughly with those of the then somewhat moribund Holy Roman Empire. It incorporated present-day Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, and large parts of Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Kaliningradskaia oblast' as well (perhaps) as northeastern Italy and German-speaking Switzerland.
18th-century Central Europe was a politically fragmented place and the scene of frequent military conflict. The Seven Years' War (1754-1763) was only the most important of many 18th-century confrontations. The area nonetheless had a pretty good road system for its time and an excellent postal service.
Central Europe in the 18th century was of course the home of three of the greatest figures in the history of Western music. It was also one of the centers of the Enlightenment. The maps accessed on this page include a map of Leipzig in the time of Bach, a map of Vienna in the time of Haydn (only a few years after Mozart's death), and several maps of Eastern Prussia in the time of Kant and Herder. The shift in the most common language of the maps from Latin in the early 18th century to German at the end of the century no doubt reflected in part the increasing respectability of German as a language of communication.
View Online Collection