When Was the First Map Invented?

first-map-invented Credit: Christopher Bulle/CC-BY-2.0

Maps developed simultaneously in several parts of the world, so it is not clear who invented them. Though other examples of early maps exist, a 14,000-year-old carved stone tablet found in northern Spain in 1993 is the oldest depiction of geographic and other features.

Before the discovery in Spain, a Babylonian clay tablet dating from around 2300 B.C. was accepted as the earliest known map. A Turkish wall painting found in Anatolia and dating from 6200 B.C. is also considered to be an early example of map-making. Early cultures that include the Incas, the Eskimos, the pre-Columbian Mexicans and the Chinese had various ways to show the geography of their surroundings.