A Short History of Martian Canals in Maps

In 1877, the Italian cosmologist Giovanni Schiaparelli published a map of Mars. On this map, the planet’s surface was crisscrossed by straight lines from 60° north to 60° south latitude, each rod-straight and up to thousands of miles long. Schiaparelli called these lines “Canali”, Italian for “channel”. This was incorrectly translated into English as “canals”.