21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

By Attila Nagy on at

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.

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

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Wikimedia Commons


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

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: National Library of Sweden


America as the land of plenty, 1782

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Library of Congress


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

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Bonhmas


Comic map of the seat of war, 1854.

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


European states, 1864

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: National Library of Sweden


Europe's comic map dedicated to the youth, 1867

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

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.

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Library of Congress


Serio-comic war map for the year 1877

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Library of Congress


Animal Europe: comic physiology of Europe, 1882

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Bibliotheek van de Universiteit van Amsterdam


Map of Europe in 1887

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Library of Congress


1888: Illustrated political chart of American politics and the Tapeworm Party

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Library of Congress


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

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: National Library of Sweden


Japanese allegorical map representing the Far East, c1900

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


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

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Centre Excursionista de Catalunya


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

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Library of Congress


Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark! 1914

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: National Library of Sweden


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

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Library of Congress


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

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Wikimedia Commons


And two bonus map in order to resolve the tension:

Human map of the USA, c1925

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Library of Congress


A map of the fortified country of man’s heart

21 Bizarre Anthropomorphic Maps That Turn Nations Into Animals 

Source: Glamour magazine, 1948. april.