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The Society for the History of Discoveries

geographical discovery, cultural encounter, voyages of exploration,  maps and cartographic history,

About the Society

The Society for the History of Discoveries was formed to stimulate interest in teaching, research, and publishing the history of geographical exploration and its impact. Founded in 1960, the Society includes members from several academic disciplines as well as archivists and librarians, non-affiliated scholars, and laypersons with an interest in history.  We are open to all with an interest in the subject.

Events & Announcements

Join us for our 2021 Virtual Conference!

November 18-20, 2021.

Student Prize

The Society for the History of Discoveries announces its 2021 Student Prize for best student research paper in the history of geographic discoveries. NEW THIS YEAR:  Two prizes will be available, one for undergraduates and one for graduate students. Founded in 1960, the purpose of the Society is to stimulate teaching, research, and publishing in the history of geographical exploration. We now call for research papers on voyages, travels, biography, history, cartography, the technologies of travel, the impact of travel and cultural exchange, and other aspects of geographic discovery. The primary purpose is to enlighten the reader about some aspect of the geographic exploration of our physical world.

Annual Meeting

Each year, our annual meetings bring together scholars from across the globe to explore issues related to the history and impact of geographical exploration and cultural exchange and interaction.   Learn more about how you can join us!

  • Site of the 2020 SHD Conference
  • A museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South.
  • Includes 13 historic buildings on 3 French Quarter campuses
  • New exhibition center features permanent display on the historic French Quarter

Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, Jackson Square

  • First built in 1727, rebuilt 1789-1794, and remodeled beginning in 1849.
  • Dedicated to Louis IX (1214-1270), king of France; canonized in 1297
  • Tours are available, both self-guided and with guides (prior arrangements)
  • Mass celebrated daily.

Williams Research Center

  • 2020 Conference location
  • The center houses The Collection’s public reading room for researchers, as well as offices for curatorial, library, and manuscripts personnel; collection storage; and processing areas
  • The reading room at the Williams Research Center is open from 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday, excluding holidays.

The Society’s Journal:  Terrae Incognitae

Terrae Incognitae is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal published for the Society for the History of Discoveries by Taylor & Francis.  The aim is to examine the history and impact of geographic exploration and cross-cultural interaction around the globe.  Each issue includes an expansive book review section.  Recent articles have ranged from the use of DNA technology to track the movement of chickens and thus populations in pre-historic Oceania to the role of the Order of Christ in furthering 16th-century Portuguese expansion; from the significance of inter-cultural adoption or rejection of clothing for understanding cross-cultural interaction to Marco Polo’s influence on cartography.

The journal welcomes comparative and interdisciplinary studies as well as those focused on a particular time or place.

Information for Contributors

We welcome contributions to Terrae Incognitae.  All information concerning article submission can be found on our publisher’s web site:


It was the discoveries that provided data for geographers, which allowed them to make sense of the various places in the world with their varying cultures and environments. ” Sanford Bederman, SHD Fellow

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