Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hail Columbia! two-fer

Did you know that Uncle Sam was not the first popular personification of the USA?  First, she was a goddess: Columbia. Invented in 1738 specifically for the land she would soon represent. Here's an article about it.  She has been warrior, protector, farmer, hostess, and more.  I like her a lot better than grumpy old Uncle Sam.  Here's another article with more pictures. And here are some of those images with maps in them:

WWI recruiting poster, which I find a lot more beckoning, and a lot less creepy, than the iconic Uncle Sam recruiting poster of the same era

Then there's this image of goddess Columbia "welcoming her favorite son" George Washington:
This is how I was first introduced to the image of goddess Columbia because I saw this image in a history textbook in a section either about Manifest Destiny or westward expansion...both of which are strongly geographic concepts, and this well-known painting has a panoramic map quality about it.  

I'm including this one not because that's Columbia, but because on the website where it came from somebody thinks that's Columbia and is trying to connect the image of Columbia to the occult and the Illuminati, etc.  When I was looking for map-related images of Columbia many sites like this come up where people are trying very hard to relate goddess Columbia to Armageddon or paganism or whatever.  That's kind of part of the reason why Columbia has fallen out of favor as a representational image of the USA.  That's also very silly. I, for one, vote to bring her roaring back into the USA's iconography 


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