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Annual Meeting

58th Annual Meeting of the
Society for the History of Discoveries

September 22 (Friday) - September 23 (Saturday) 2017

with optional outings on 21 and 24 September

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Preliminary Schedule

Abstracts of Papers to be delivered at the 58th Annual Meeting of the
Society for the History of Discoveries
Milwaukee WI, September 21-24, 2017

Arranged Alphabetically by Author


"Jesuit cartography of the New France:  Missionaries in the Search of Northwest Passage"

Cartography produced by Jesuits significantly changed over time and did not uniformly follow the same pattern.  Jesuit cartography in the lands of the Spanish Crown did not have exactly the same characteristics as it did in the lands of the Portuguese crown, or in the areas of French possessions in North America.  Jesuit missionaries did not act in the same circumstances everywhere, nor did they have the same support from colonial or local authorities.  All this had a significant impact on the content and purpose of Jesuit mappings in various countries of America.

In this paper we will discuss the specifics of Jesuit cartography of the New France and compare it with the Jesuit cartographic activities in the Spanish and Portuguese possessions.  Jesuits of New France arrived in the America after their colleges who worked for Spanish and Portuguese Crowns.  However, mapmaking in the New France reaches its peak in the mid-17th century, at a time when the South American Jesuit cartographies are still in its initial stages. No less important, Jesuit cartography of New France develops under the dominant influence of the French cartographic tradition, which is at the 17th century, the leading world cartography. In addition, 17th century France is scientifically the most progressive country in Europe and their Jesuits one of the best educated specially in the field of natural sciences. These circumstances resulted with the fact that 17th century Jesuit cartography of the New France significantly surpass the achievements of the Portuguese and Spanish Jesuit cartography of the same period.

Jesuit cartography of the New France stands out not only for its accuracy/ quality but also by its the content.  Jesuit exploration and mapping of New France, in addition to the needs of the spread of the French Empire, was largely driven by the search for the Northwest Passage that would allow linking the Atlantic to the Pacific.  Jesuit cartography of New France was primarily exploratory cartography while its missionary aspects remain in the background.  Due to the early development of the Jesuit cartography of the New France which is not preceded by the significant development of colonial cartography (with the exception of maritime cartography) its impact on European commercial cartography will be extremely high. In that sense, Jesuit exploration and mapping of the Great Lakes Region was pioneering work without precedent.

Biographical Sketch: Dr. Mirela Altićis a chief research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia.  In the Department of History, University of Zagreb, Dr. Altić holds the rank of full professor and lectures on the history of cartography and historical geography.  Besides her specialization in South Eastern and Central European map history, last few years she publishes extensively on the Jesuit cartography of Americas and conducts research in European and American Jesuit archives and libraries.  She is the author of twelve books, numerous scholarly papers and a contributor to The History of Cartography Project. For the academic year 2013–14 she was awarded the David Woodward Memorial Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 2016 she was invited by American Geographical Society Library to give an annual talk on Maps and America: The Arthur Holzheimer Lecture Series with the title “Encounters in the New World: Jesuit Cartography of the Americas”. She is member of SHD and Vice-chair of ICA Commission on the History of Cartography.


"The Eastward Gaze: Indigenous Constructions of Europeanity in the Spanish Americas"

Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Indigenous and mestizo authors and artists rarely had traveled to Europe, as there were bans prohibiting their passage.  Without broader knowledge about what Europe looked like and the diversity of that continent’s peoples, Native American artists in particular fused together information extracted from Indigenous and Spanish sources in order to deepen, on the one hand, European geographical knowledge of the region, while on the other linking their presence in the Americas to the country from which they had come.  This process of representation gave rise to constructions of Europeanity that emphasised the exoticism and otherness of Spaniards in the eyes of Indigenous authors and artists.  These Indigenous and mestizo sources reveal how concepts of foreignness, distance, and hierarchies of power inherently impacted their expanding world view. 

This presentation, which will be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, makes use of unique documents such as Guamán Poma’s chronicle of Inca history and the relaciones geográficas in order to explore non-European constructions of Europeanity that were created in the Spanish Americas. Usually these documents are studied for what they can tell us about Indigenous history or European knowledge of the Americas; to date they have not been seriously considered as a source of Indigenous knowledge about Europe.

Biographical Sketch:  Lauren Beck is associate professor of Hispanic Studies at Mount Allison University and editor of Terrae Incognitae.  Her research focuses on visual culture of the early modern Iberian world, with a particular interest in book illustration and historical cartography.  Recently her work has examined Indigenous contributions of knowledge during this same period.


"Treasures of the American Geographical Society Library"

A special presentation followed by a viewing of selected AGLS materials.

Biographical Sketch:  Marcy Bidney is curator of the American Geographical Society Library and assistant director of Libraries for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She holds a Master's of Library and Information Science from Drexel University as well as an MA in Geography and Urban Studies from Temple University.  Her particular research interests include geospatial information access, spatial humanities, and the history of cartography.


“Plotting the Western Coastline of Lake Michigan, 1668-1840"

The first European delineation of the western shore of Lake Michigan dates from 1673, and was the work of Père Marquette. His map shows four of the area’s rivers, and most can be identified.  During the rest of the century, other French cartographers offered both more and less extensive versions of these rivers, but, as time went by, this became an area of less interest to mapmakers, so that it was virtually neglected in the work of Guillaume Delisle.

This neglect persisted during the first half of the eighteenth century, in works like those published by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin.  Towards the end of the century, in particular in the work of Thomas Hutchins, there was a revival of interest in the hydrography of the area, and rivers were shown in a variety of sites and with a variety of titles, some reflecting their names among the indigenous tribes of the area. This paper concludes by examining these various options, leading down to the time in the 1830s when the settlements along the shoreline had received their modern names.

Biographical Sketch:  David Buisseret trained as a historian at the University of Cambridge (1955-1964), and in the latter year joined the history faculty of the newly-established University of the West Indies (Jamaica campus).  From 1980 to 1996 he directed the Smith Center for the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library, Chicago, and then moved to Texas, serving as the first Garrett Professor of the History of Cartography at the University of Texas at Arlington. Now retired, he is a Senior Research Fellow at the Newberry.


“On the Road Again: Living among Jesuits in the Seventeenth Century”

Biographical Sketch: Laura Chmielewski is Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York at Purchase, where she teaches Early American, Atlantic World, and Public History.  She is the author of The Spice of Popery: Converging Christianities on an Early American Frontier (Notre Dame, 2011), The Atlantic Experience: Peoples, Places, Ideas (with Catherine M. Armstrong; Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), the Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet: Exploration, Encounter and the French New World (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, forthcoming Fall 2017).  She holds a Ph.D. in American History from City University of New York.


“Guts and Gustation: Cross-Cultural Eating at the Cape of Good Hope in the Eighteenth Century”

In 2016, at the meeting in Newport, Rhode Island, I presented a paper on curious tasting at the Cape of Good Hope, as described mainly by the German traveler Peter Kolb (1675-1726).  At that time I indicated that I wanted to broaden my research in tasting to go beyond Kolb’s discussion of flora and fauna, and look at the way that he describes food for the various people groups at the Cape of Good Hope in the early eighteenth century.  The paper I would like to present in Milwaukee will explore the way Kolb and other travelers to southern Africa describe the eating habits of the indigenous people of the Cape (the Khoikhoi, who were then known as Hottentots), the slaves (from various places in Africa and South/Southeast Asia), and the Europeans (mostly Dutch, but also others).  The presentation will consider the ways in which food and taste shaped cross-cultural experiences. For colonial Spanish America, the historian Rebecca Earl has argued that cross-cultural eating was viewed with a great deal of anxiety.  Europeans feared that eating Indian food could change them utterly: “Food, in other words, helped distinguish Spaniard from Indian, but it could just as easily turn proud, bearded Spaniards into timid, beardless Indians” or, vice versa, that, “Indians would become like the Spanish were they to eat their food” (except that it might kill them!). (Earl, 2010)

Earle’s argument provides a framework for a comparative look at eating in southern Africa in the Dutch colonial period. But discussing ambivalence toward cross-cultural eating is only a piece of the gustatory culture of the Cape of Good Hope, since food historians point to the rise of mixed cuisines here (as elsewhere in the world) in the course of the eighteenth century. Thus, my paper will also consider ways that foods escape boundaries and taste mixes up cultural discourse.   

Biographical Sketch: Dr. Good has taught History at Reinhardt University in Waleska for the past 12 years, and is proud of the work she has done in shaping a new generation of young historians in North Georgia.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2005.  Her dissertation was on Peter Kolb (1675-1726), a German traveler from the early eighteenth century, who spent the most significant part of his life in South Africa and wrote the first detailed account of the Khoikhoi, the indigenous people who lived there.  While teaching at Reinhardt, she has remained active as a scholar, presenting at conferences and publishing on topics in early modern history.   


"Navigating the Great Lakes and the Shoals of Disunion"

Lecture in conjunction with special exhibition at the Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University.

Biographical Sketch:  Theodore J.Karamanski, PhD,is Professor of History and Director of the Public History Program at Loyola University Chicago. He has served as a heritage consultant to the National Park Service in Alaska and across the Midwest region as well as for National Geographic, The History Channel, BBC, and the Travel Channel. His public history work has focused on Great Lakes region cultural resource management, environmental history and American Indian rights. He has written histories of Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He is author of eight books including Fur Trade and Exploration (1983), Deep Woods Frontier (1990), Ethics and Public History (1991), Schooner Passage: Sailing Ships and the Lake Michigan Frontier (2000), and Maritime Chicago (2001). His most recent book is Blackbird’s Song: Andrew J. Blackbird and Odawa Survival (2012). He is a founding board member of the Chicago Maritime Museum.


“The Unforeseen Consequences of the Jesuit Map of Lake Superior, c. 1670”

French cartographers were responsible for the early European mapping of the Great Lakes.  By 1650, cartographers like Nicolas Sanson had generated maps showing the three easternmost lakes, Ontario, Erie, and Huron, and they had some idea of the existence of Lakes Superior and Michigan.  The mapping of Lake Superior was then undertaken by two Jesuit fathers, who in 1668 produced a map celebrated for the accuracy of its delineation, as the paper confirms by the use of regression analysis.

However, it has also generally been assumed that the “Jesuit map” also set Lake Superior accurately into its North American context.  This paper will demonstrate that this was far from the case, and that the area of Lake Superior on the Jesuit map is nearly 2.6 times larger than the actual area.  This exaggeration would have consequences during the rest of the seventeenth century for other cartographers, who in general followed the proportions of the Jesuit map, thus introducing serious distortions into their delineations. One example of this is Jean-Baptiste Franquelin, whose distortions played a part in misleading René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle during his disastrous expedition of 1684.

Biographical Sketch:  Carl Kupfer is a registered professional engineer, and principal of a civil engineering consulting firm that he founded in the 1980s.  His work has included projects surveying and mapping areas of Lake Michigan, and he has offered papers on the cartographic history of that region.  He is a former naval officer and avid Lake Michigan sailor, well acquainted with theories of map-projection and with their historical origins.


"From the Masthead to the Quarterdeck: The Birds-eye views and Pilotage Charts of Edward Barlow, 1659-1703

Unknown to most is the fact that within Edwards Barlow’s journal, which details nearly fifty years at sea, are 210 images, profiles, and pilotage charts of the world’s oceans and port towns.  The extent of these fascinating and distinctive images has remained largely unknown to the public because of ongoing conservation efforts for the past fifty years at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.  In the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to compare the published text alongside the original manuscript as well as collect copies of every image Barlow drew throughout his journal.  Alongside his vivid written account, replete with innumerable cultural observations, Barlow’s illustrations depict the navigational, socio-political, and economic realities of traversing the globe at the end of the seventeenth-century.  Barlow’s text depicts the travails of violent storms, the rapacity of sharks, the bounty and curiosities of the sea, as well as the commercial opportunities awaiting intrepid voyagers and merchant interests.  In part, I intend to “reintroduce” Edward Barlow into our histories as a means to highlight the roles of “curiosity” and imagery in the history of late-seventeenth century English expansionism.  Specifically, Barlow’s birds-eye views and pilotage charts of harbors around the world embody English instruments of acquisition and reflections of desire.  In effect, Barlow’s illustrations depict the nascence of English imperial aspirations and observations as they emerged out of the commercial successes and expansionism of the late-seventeenth century.  

Biographical Sketch:  I spent the last 8 years at Southeastern Oklahoma State University as an Associate Professor of History, but have just finished my first year as an Assistant Professor of History at Texas Wesleyan University.  I have a forthcoming articles in the History of Cartography Project on “British Marine Cartography during the Enlightenment” and another on “The Cartography of the Sea,” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Marine and Maritime Worlds, 1400-1800: Oceans in Global History and Culture.


"Mapping the Global Midwest:  A New Digital Humanities Project"

The 1843 map of the upper Mississippi watershed by Joseph Nicollet has been called the first "modern" map of the Midwest.  Nicollet (1786-1843) was a French mathematician, astronomer, cartographer, and explorer who made three expeditions along the Mississippi River between 1835 and 1839.  Nicollet’s scholarly work and exploration brought him into contact with French settlers, fur traders, Jesuit missionaries, European botanists, Native Americans, and the fledgling U.S. government.  His map, as well as his expedition diaries, mark a liminal point in the history of cartography, exploration, and geography in North America.  Significant research already exists or is ongoing in understanding the roles of missionaries, Native Americans, and French and British explorers in the development and settlement of the Upper Mississippi region.  However, no one has yet brought these studies together to develop a broader understanding of how cartography, missionary activity, and international relations and the development of the new nations of France and the United States fit together.

At the same time, our gateway project, “Joseph Nicollet’s 1843 Hydrograpical Map:  A Liminal Point in the Construction of the Global Midwest,”  will provide proof of concept for Mapping the Global Midwest as a digital platform that will host developing digital humanities projects related to 4 knowledge/enquiry streams:  cartographic confluences; international contacts/networks; religions, lifeways, missionary encounters; and environmental engagements.  Our gateway project also will serve as a portal into new projects, as well as pre-existing projects, such as the Bdote Memory map; American Languages:  Our Nations Many Voices, Houses of Worship Project, American Journeys.  It will offer graduate students a space for learning about public history constructed for a digital environment. The platform also will host a forum for scholarly discussion, a database of projects, and teaching resources and student projects.

Biographical Sketch:  Dr. Marguerite Ragnow is curator of the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota, where she is on the graduate faculties of History, Early Modern Studies, and Medieval Studies.  She also directs the Digital Research Workshop for the Mellon-funded Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World at UMN.  A past editor of Terrae Incognitae, she is vice president/president-elect of SHD.


"Jan Nieuhoff and Dutch Brazil:  The Experiences of a West India Company Agent, 1640-1649"

Jan Nieuhoff, (1618-1672) was the member of a prominent merchant family from Ussen in the earldom of Benthem in the Netherlands.  He served as an observant and often rather intrepid    agent for the Dutch West India Company in Brazil in 1640-1649 and for the Dutch East India Company in China (e.g. Formosa-Taiwan), Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and the East Indies (e.g. Java) in 1655-1667 (which will be the subject of another presentation).  He left behind an extensive memoirs of his postings (on which this paper is largely based), published after his death in Dutch in 1682 and English in 1732, and of a failed mission to Peking (1655-1656), published in English in 1669.  There has been only one reissuance (in facsimile) of his memoirs (New Delhi, 2003), and there is no serious scholarship on Nieuhoff’s activities other than the failed China embassy.

In the late 1620’s, the vigorous Dutch began to conquer a substantial chunk of northeastern Brazil around Bahia, Pernambuco, and Recife from the Portuguese, and they eventually came to control six of the original Portuguese kapitanias (districts).  While in custody of this part of Brazil, the Dutch engaged in a lucrative trade in sugar, slaves, dye and hard woods, and other commodities.  The Dutch held on to their new Brazilian colony until 1655 when they were finally driven out by the Portuguese.

Although Nieuhoff was stationed in Recife, in doing business for the Dutch he got to explore yet little known parts of the Brazilian interior, and later through his accounts he added to Europe’s knowledge of it.  He took extensive note not only of the native flora and fauna, but also of the folkways of the Indians, European colonists, and African slaves on the Brazilian frontier of the Americas.  Nieuhoff also chronicled at length, but not without bias, what he called ongoing Portuguese “rebellion” against the Dutch, which was nothing short of a colonial war leading to the Portuguese reclamation of all of Brazil.

These cogent observations of Brazil were recorded not only in his writings, but also in some quite good maps and the numerous excellent drawings reproduced in his published accounts.  This presentation will be fully illustrated with examples of Nieuhoff’s cartography and other artistry as well as supplementary relevant images.

Biographical Sketch:  Dennis Reinhartz received his AB and AM degrees in history from Rutgers University and his PhD from New York University.  After a university career of over forty years and having retired in 2008, he is an emeritus professor of history and Russian at The University of Texas at Arlington.  He also has taught at Rutgers, New Jersey Institute of Technology, James Madison University, Bridgewater College, University of London, and Oxford University and holds several teaching awards.  He has offered courses in world history, modern European history, Russian and East European history, modern Chinese history, transatlantic discovery and exploration, history of cartography, and historical methodology and theory.  He is the author or editor of fourteen books and numerous book chapters and scholarly articles related to his fields of interest.  He is past president of The Society for the History of Discoveries, Arid Lands Studies Association, Western Social Science Association, and Texas Map Society as well as the president-elect of the Historical Society of New Mexico and vice chair of the New Mexico Humanities Council.  He has traveled extensively across Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the South Pacific and is fluent in several languages.


"VERITAS CAPUT: Science, Politics and the Search for the "True Source" of the Mississippi River Headwaters"

The Mississippi River is the one of the  largest river systems in the world,  and the history of the search for its source has captured the imagination of generations of explorers and geographers. Although Henry Rowe Schoolcraft is now credited with being the first to "discover" the headwaters of the Mississippi Rivers in 1832, this discovery was challenged by  Native Americans, fur traders, and other early adventurers and explorers who had trekked through the area and staked claims of their own.

The question of officially defining and mapping the river's "True Source" had great importance politically and historically, but was a complicated process due to the unique aspects of northern Minnesota's geography, hydrology, landscape, and ecosystems.  Definitions and techniques used by scientists of the day to define the sources of rivers in Europe and the mountainous or hilly coastal regions of the United did not easily apply to a river whose source meandered somewhere in the flats of northern Minnesota bogs, marshes, and waterlogged forests.

In the early 1800s, a river's source was generally defined as being that tributary source which sprang from the farthest source of a rivers flow that was in the cardinal opposite direction of the river's mouth; using that definition, Giacomo Beltrami was right to claim Lake Julia as the source of the Mississippi.  However, as the sciences of hydrology and geography evolved over the next century, this definition would evolve and change as well, leading Schoolcraft to claim the source as the outlet of Lake Itasca, while Brower claimed the Heute Terre near DeSoto Lake, Glazier would claim Elk Lake, and Nicollet defined it as springing from the bogs of what would later be called the Nicollet Creek valley.  Other explorers such as Pike, Thompson, and Morrison, and Ojibwe Chief Flatmouth, made other claims as well.

Though State Geologist Newton Winchell concurred with aspects of Nicollet's, Brower's, and Glazier's claims, and affirmed that Beltrami's reasoning was sound and scientific for his era, Schoolcraft remained the official "discoverer" of the source, and the geological and hydrological facts were further obscured by the politics of the day as a battle ensued to define the headwaters basin and to delineate what would officially become Itasca State Park.

Our mission has been to research the history behind efforts to map and define the source of the Mississippi, and to document the story of its exploration through film.  We are creating a "virtual fieldtrip" by capturing the essence of natural landscapes and waterscapes of the headwaters region, as well by staging historical re-enactments of various expeditions and mapping parties, based on their individual journals, maps, and other primary documents.  We are creating an educational film series based on these explorer stories, examining the validity of each explorers claim to the source, and comparing them to our own conclusions as to the “True Source” based on our own geographic expeditions and fieldwork in the headwaters region.

Biographical Sketch:  Janet Rith-Najarian is a professional biogeographer based in Bemidji, Minnesota.  She has been researching biological diversity and riparian biogeography in the Mississippi Headwaters region for over thirty years, and is currently the conservation steward for the Wilderness Scientific Natural Area at Itasca State Park.  Janet is also a geography and environmental educator with the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE), and serves as the regional MAGE Teacher-Consultant for north central Minnesota.

Biographical Sketch:  Norwood Hall is a local historian and well known musician, actor and historical reenactor in northern Minnesota, after working for many years as an educator and year-round staff member at the Concordia International Language Villages in Turtle River, Minnesota.  He is also an experienced outdoorsman and expert river guide in the Mississippi Headwaters region.  He is currently a member of the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education, and has presented at and helped organize MAGE teacher workshops.


"Depicting and Concealing Unknown Regions at the Northern Limits of North America on Maps to 1776"

To explore is to acquire knowledge, but no exploration is complete: to the left and right of any path followed are many that remain unknown.  And when geographical knowledge is synthesized into a map, the cartographer has to deal with those gaps one way or another. Moreover, the usually rectangular borders of maps entail that there will be substantial space between them and the irregular paths of explorers.  In this paper I will look at the strategies cartographers used to deal with the incompleteness of their knowledge of northern North America from 1500 to 1776.

I will begin with a look at the strategies used to map other unknown regions in an early fifteenth-century Ptolemaic map of Europe (BnF MS lat. 3123, f. 169v), Franciscus Monachus’s world map of 1527, the world map in a 1545 manuscript of Pletho’s Excerpta geographica (BnF MS Gr. 1415, f. 2r), Arnoldo di Arnoldi’s world map of 1600, John Smith’s 1612 map of Virginia, and Edward Quin’s historical maps made in 1830.
Of course the simplest solution to mapping the unknown northern parts of North America was simply to leave those areas blank, and some cartographers took this option, while others added textual indications of “terra incognita” to make the situation clear.  Other cartographers used distinctive colors or styles for depicting unknown coastlines, although they do not explain this convention.  But many cartographers were hesitant to admit their ignorance, and adopted various graphic strategies to conceal their lack of knowledge.  These include covering unknown regions with decorative elements such as cartouches, compass roses, inset maps, coats of arms, and portraits of explorers.  I will analyze these strategies in maps from Juan de la Cosa’s chart of 1500 to Turner’s map of Nova Scotia of 1776, and show that despite the advent of a more scientific style of cartography in some quarters in the seventeenth century, many cartographers continued to use decoration to conceal gaps in their knowledge.  In fact, the variety and persistence of the techniques used indicates that concealing a lack of information, and avoiding blank spaces on maps, continued to be a priority for cartographers.

Biographical Sketch:
Chet Van Duzer is an NEH-Mellon Fellow at the Library of Congress to study the annotations in a heavily annotated copy of the 1525 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography; and a board member of the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester, which brings multispectral imaging to cultural institutions around the world. He has published extensively on medieval and Renaissance maps in journals such as Imago Mundi, Terrae Incognitae, Word & Image, and Viator. He is the author of Johann Schöner’s Globe of 1515: Transcription and Study, the first detailed analysis of one of the earliest surviving terrestrial globes that includes the New World; and (with John Hessler) Seeing the World Anew: The Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 & 1516 World Maps. His book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps was published in 2013 by the British Library, and is now available in German and Russian editions, with a Chinese edition on the way. In 2014 the Library of Congress published a study of Christopher Columbus’s Book of Privileges which he co-authored with John Hessler and Daniel De Simone. His book The World for a King: Pierre Desceliers’ Map of 1550 was published at the end of 2015 by the British Library, and in 2016 Brill published a book he co-authored with Ilya Dines, Apocalyptic Cartography: Thematic Maps and the End of the World in a Fifteenth-Century Manuscript.

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