I do this, of course, because I so often encounter people who speak or write as if it is a single country, rather than a continent of 55 countries (or more, depending on which neighboring islands are counted).
From Michael Blanding's fascinating book The Map Thief, I recently learned that my declaration about Africa echoes the words of King Ferdinand VI of Spain , who decreed in 1747 that "California is not an island!"
He was frustrated by the fact that a cartographic error made by British mathematician Henry Briggs in 1622 had been copied so often that it was thought to be true more than a century later. Eventually, the king's decree -- and better field work -- fixed the error, though the notion of California as an island in the figurative sense remains popular.
|Click on map to enlarge.|
For more, visit 18 California-iland maps at Wired.com