Throughout time, humans have ventured over the hill, beyond their own territories. Wherever such journeys of exploration have taken us, we have learned about ourselves while interacting with others and sharing our ideas, history, and culture. The Society for the History of Discoveries investigates the geographic discoveries and cultural exchanges that result from travel around the globe and the exploration and mapping of Earth’s land and sea surfaces from earliest times to the present.
Geographic discovery is about more than the moment of discovery. It is about theoretical geography put into practice; it is about bankrolling expeditions, whether through the investment of wealthy widows, old age pensions, financiers, or governments; it is about maps and mapmakers; it is about diplomats, missionaries, explorers, scalawags and pirates, naturalists, and merchant-adventurers; it is about indigenous peoples faced for the first time with strangers in their homelands; and the sometimes tragic consequences of geographic exploration. Geographic discovery is about people broadening their horizons, encountering one another for the first time, struggling to understand other cultures, and braving the unknown in search of a new destiny.
The Society for the History of Discoveries was formed to stimulate interest in teaching, research, and publishing the history of geographical exploration. Founded in 1960, the Society’s membership includes faculty and graduate students from a variety of academic disciplines as well as curators, archivists and librarians; non-affiliated or independent scholars; and laypersons who share their interests.
Our members study a wide range of fields of inquiry: history, literature, language, geography, biography, ethnography, cultural studies, cartography, geology, astronomy, archaeology, bibliography, and maritime studies, among others. We are interested in the processes and technologies used to undertake voyages of exploration, as well as the impact—contemporary and future—of the cultural exchanges and interactions that ensued, and how we study and document them. A glance at some of the past issues of our journal, Terrae Incognitae, will provide a sense of the broad scope of our interests.
The Society for the History of Discoveries is a 501(c)(3) corporation, registered in the State of Minnesota, that is exempt from taxes under Title 26 of the United States Code. Its registered address is 4617 Ensign Avenue North, New Hope, MN 55428.