This map was drawn by Levin Jørgen Rohde. He was born in 1786 and died in 1857. He was a commodore in the Royal Danish Navy, and harbor master of the port of St. Thomas, West Indies from 1819 to 1854. The map is called “Kort over havnen i Charlotte Amalie på St. Thomas”. It was drawn in 1822. (This information can be gathered from the map’s metadata which is presented on the same page as the map on the Danish National Archives website.)
Primary Sources in this Activity
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Before beginning this activity, help students to understand what a primary source is, have students provide examples of primary sources, help them with examples as needed, discuss why a map is a primary source, and discuss the difference between primary sources and secondary sources.
The teacher can ask students whether they know what a harbor is and discuss the definition of harbor. Merriam Webster Kids Dictionary defines harbor as “a part of a body of water (as a sea or lake) so protected as to be a place of safety for ships”.
Load the map onto an interactive smart board and have students make observations together. If there is not a smart board, students can work in small groups at computers.
Also load the Analyze a Map worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through discussing their answers to questions on the worksheet.
Analyze the Primary Source
The teacher or students can zoom into the map to examine the details. The teacher will help students to observe the map. Find the legend and read the information provided there, locate the scale, and find the measurements on the map. Pay close attention to all the measurements within the harbor area. Identify symbols on the map and discuss what they mean. Look at the names of places including beaches, estates, and cays. The teacher can have a current map of St. Thomas on hand to help students compare current names and those on the map from 1822. Ask students to observe whether any of the places have the same names today.
You may load the Analyze a Map worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through answering the questions, print the worksheet and distribute to your students, or adapt the questions from the worksheet to create your own. Primary Source Analysis Worksheets
After making observations of the map, answer the questions from the Analyze a Map worksheet. Students may need to continue viewing the map to complete the worksheet.