What Does a Political Map Show?

A political map shows boundaries of countries, states, cities and counties. A physical map, while showing the information found on a political map, also shows landforms and the local terrain.

Anything that is man-made shows up on a political map. However, political borders are sometimes determined by physical landforms. States and countries sometimes make their borders using rivers, lakes and mountain ranges. Latitude and longitude can also help to determine a country, state or city border.

Maps, both political and physical use different size fonts to denote the size of the area on the map. Countries are in bold, large fonts and cities often use smaller fonts. The larger the area, the larger the font.

Maps have had to change several times during the last few thousand years. When a country loses or wins a war and gains or loses property in the process, political maps have to change to reflect the differences.

The first political map was made around 3200 B.C. and it was a map of the Ancient Near East. That map stayed in effect until 2400 B.C. because of wars that changed the way land was distributed among the countries of Mesopotamia. Physical maps have been around much longer. evidence of some of the first maps date back to 8,000 years ago.