Long before Dorothy came to Oz, Glinda and the Wizard changed everything.

Mapping the Hidden History of Oz

Map of Oz and surrounding countries. Used as a comparison against the updated map of Oz used in the Hidden History of Oz stories.

“Oz-and-surrounding-countrie” by L. Frank Baum (illustrated by John R. Neill) – Tik-Tok of Oz, first published in the United States in 1914. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Creating a map is an interesting process. I like to have things accurate, so that I can trust the facts. When it came time to update my map for the Hidden History of Oz stories, I had my work cut out for me. I did a lot of research on the Cartographer’s Guild to understand how good maps work. The Cartographer’s Guild has a great website with a lot of knowledgeable folks providing comments, critiques, and advice for creating accurate maps. I looked at the original map of Oz, and I saw some features that needed more explanation. Let’s take a look.

Original Map of Oz

First, here is Baum’s original map.

Map of Oz, by L. Frank Baum.

“Map-of-Oz” by L. Frank Baum – Tik-Tok of Oz, first published in the United States in 1914.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

There aren’t many mountains. There are a few rivers, but rivers always run downhill from mountains (Rivers always run to the sea, but Oz is surrounded by deserts, not seas). The primary rivers end up in the central lake. It looks like the center of the land is lower than the edges. The only way this could happen is if there were some mountains that weren’t displayed.

Secondly, the borders of the lands seem pretty arbitrary. Generally, countries use natural features to divide national boundaries – be they mountains, rivers, deserts, or bodies of water.

There aren’t many  forests. That seems odd, considering that many of the stories reference forests and trees.

Hidden History of Oz map

Let’s take a look at the Hidden History of Oz map, circa 1854.

Map of The Hidden History of Oz, created by Tarl Telford

Map of The Hidden History of Oz, created by Tarl Telford.

First thing to notice is that there are a lot more mountains. The borders of the lands follow natural terrain. Brick roads connect the various lands. The lands are divided much the same way that Baum decided. There are some slight differences in territory, but this map has almost fifty years of story time before Baum’s map becomes reality. There could very well be some territorial disputes in the future for the Winkies and Quadlings. And Munchkin Country is smaller than Baum’s version also. Perhaps Kalinya, the Wicked Witch of the East, has her sights set on ruling more than just her portion of Oz.

There are more forests visible in this map. A few forests specifically named in The Hidden History of Oz stories are Sparkwood Forest (in the North), Ugreather, the Great Oak Forest (north of Porcelain City, in the South), and the Garden of the Rising Sun (named as Garden Tree, in the West). Adding forests helps give place to some of Baum’s chronicles of Dorothy’s adventures.

Creative Commons 4.0 International License

I like maps. This map was a lot of work to make, but it meets my requirements and it works for the story. Additionally, this map comes in three flavors, with a nice bonus. The map is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Baum’s map is in the Public Domain. The Hidden History of Oz map is based off of that map, but there are significant changes. Now the changes can be yours to improve upon.

The Hidden History of Oz stories are intended as a foundation to make Baum’s stories possible, plausible, and add layers of depth to his imaginative works. This map is a snapshot of Oz before the Wizard’s dreams changed everything in Book Three: Emerald Spectacles.

Maps of The Hidden History of Oz

Now available for download:

Creative Commons License
Map of The Hidden History of Oz by Tarl Telford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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4 responses

  1. These are wonderful pieces of work. I’m surprised I’ve never seen a map of Oz before today. Great to know there’s a reference I can turn to now when I return to reading about the character in the land of Oz!

    Like

    April 10, 2015 at 6:21 AM

    • There are really not that many maps of Oz. You have to look to find them. I wanted to make a map that was accessible to all, that ties my series in with Baum’s original vision. It’s easy in the later maps to get bogged down with stops that characters made along the way in their magical journeys, and forget that Oz is a real place, with real geographic features. My purpose was to make Oz feel like a real place that could actually work as a historic location. I’m happy with the result.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 10, 2015 at 12:03 PM

  2. Alex Hickman

    I really love this new map and it is very beautifully drawn. It looks so authentic as if someone brought right out of the Land of Oz. I thinks its one of the best maps of Oz out there. The feature of the map that I love is that you used each country’s colors to represent each country. L. Frank Baum’s map is the only one I’ve seen that featured this while most other maps are just white; aside from the map featured in the Lion of Oz and The Badge of Courage animated film. It’s another wonderful homage towards Baum’s books which is why I love this Hidden History series.

    I feel that Baum’s stories aren’t as well known as the MGM musical or Wicked. Oz the Great and Powerful tried to aim more towards Baum’s stories but it ended up leaning more towards the MGM film I felt. So its very nice to see a prequel series dedicated more towards Baum”s works as well as further exploring the characters and the Land of Oz.

    These works are wonderful new representation of Oz and I love each book that comes out. I look forward to more news and books to come.

    Thank you for all the work you do Mr. Telford 🙂

    Like

    April 10, 2015 at 5:25 PM

  3. Alex Hickman

    I really love this new map and it is very beautifully drawn. It looks so authentic as if someone brought right out of the Land of Oz. I thinks its one of the best maps of Oz out there. The feature of the map that I love is that you used each country’s colors to represent each country. L. Frank Baum’s map is the only one I’ve seen that featured this while most other maps are just white; aside from the map featured in the Lion of Oz and The Badge of Courage animated film. It’s another wonderful homage towards Baum’s books which is why I love this Hidden History series.

    I feel that Baum’s stories aren’t as well known as the MGM musical or Wicked. Oz the Great and Powerful tried to aim more towards Baum’s stories but it ended up leaning more towards the MGM film I felt. So its very nice to see a prequel series dedicated more towards Baum”s works as well as further exploring the characters and the Land of Oz.

    These works are wonderful new representation of Oz and I love each book that comes out. I look forward to more news and books to come.

    Thank you for all the work you do Mr. Telford 🙂

    Like

    April 10, 2015 at 5:25 PM

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