This 1491 map is the very best surviving map of the international as Christopher Columbus knew it as he made his first voyage throughout the Atlantic. In truth, Columbus most probably used a replica of it in making plans his adventure. The map, created by way of the German cartographer Henricus Martellus, used to be at first lined with dozens of legends and bits of descriptive textual content, all in Latin. Most of it has pale over the centuries. But now researchers have used fashionable era to discover a lot of this in the past illegible textual content. In the procedure, they have came upon new clues about the assets Martellus used to make his map and showed the large affect it had on later maps, together with a well-known 1507 map by way of Martin Waldseemuller that used to be the first to make use of the identify “America.”
Contrary to fashionable delusion, 15th-century Europeans didn’t imagine that Columbus would sail off the fringe of a flat Earth, says Chet Van Duzer, the map student who led the find out about. But their working out of the international used to be fairly other from ours, and Martellus’s map displays that. Its depiction of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea is kind of correct, or a minimum of recognizable. But southern Africa is oddly formed like a boot with its toe pointing to the east, and Asia may be twisted off form. The massive island in the South Pacific kind of the place Australia can in truth be discovered should had been a fortunate bet, Van Duzer says, as Europeans would not uncover that continent for any other century. Martellus stuffed the southern Pacific Ocean with imaginary islands, it seems that sharing the commonplace mapmakers’ aversion to drain areas.