Allegorical, satirical, and comic or serio-comic maps were one of the most popular ways of distributing political propaganda leading up to the Second World War. With countries depicted as human figures, animals, or even monsters, these maps attempted to represent more than just geography—and in doing so, exposed the political biases and sometimes even bigotry of the author.

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Nowadays, it's strange to see states and people caricatured using cartography according to current political and international circumstances—especially in such a sarcastic, even disobliging way. The following collection of maps will give you an idea about how these artists used geographic as a form of propaganda, sometimes to disturbing ends.

1570: Map of Europe in the shape of a queen.

Source: Wikimedia Commons


Allegorical map of the Baltic Sea in the form of Charon, the ferryman of Hades, 1701.

Source: National Library of Sweden


America as the land of plenty, 1782.

Source: Library of Congress


Britannia, hand-colored and engraved caricature map of Britain in the guise of an old woman seated on a sea creature, 1791.

Source: Bonhmas


Comic map of the seat of war, 1854.

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


European states, 1864.

Source: National Library of Sweden


Europe's comic map dedicated to the youth, 1867.

Source: Map-Fair


The Porcineograph, 1876, a map of the United States in the shape of a pig, surrounded by pigs representing the different states, with notations of state foods.

Source: Library of Congress


Serio-comic war map for the year 1877.

Source: Library of Congress


Animal Europe: comic physiology of Europe, 1882.

Source: Bibliotheek van de Universiteit van Amsterdam


Map of Europe in 1887.

Source: Library of Congress


1888: Illustrated political chart of American politics and the Tapeworm Party, showing James G. Blaine as the head of a tapeworm made up of various government scandals over a map of the United States.

Source: Library of Congress


Angling in troubled waters, a serio-comic map of Europe, 1899

Source: National Library of Sweden


Japanese allegorical map representing the Far East, c1900.

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


John Bull and his friends: a serio-comic map of Europe, 1900

Source: Centre Excursionista de Catalunya


Map of Europe at the outbreak of the first World War, 1914

Source: Library of Congress


Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark! 1914

Source: National Library of Sweden


Warmonger Prussia as an octopus whose tentacles are reaching into Europe, 1914

Source: Library of Congress


The Great European War, from A Humorous Atlas of the World (Japan 1914).

Source: Wikimedia Commons


And two bonus map in order to resolve the tension:

Human map of the U.S.A., c1925.

Source: Library of Congress


A map of the fortified country of man’s heart.

Source: Glamour magazine, 1948. april.