To weigh anchor from a known port, to set course and to arrive at other beforehand fixed and in the meantime to know always where one is, although there be changes in the course, are the basic problems whereupon navigation faces. Then, to follow the shortest and safetest way, in the smaller possible time, is something more ambitious and advanced. These are the needs that the navigation charts must satisfy more complex than those of the terrestrial maps, and of irremediable consequences in case of error. The technical means, as much concerning the boats as to navigation, remained suspended during centuries; but there was a stage in which they took place multitude of advances of many types, which combined gave rise to an extraordinary development of the Nautical science. Some of these technological advances affected shipbuilding, for example rudderposts, and the adoption of new types of ail which allowed sailing upwind. And in addition the knowledge of an enigmatic physical phenomenon spread: magnetism. The appearance of the compass made ocean navigation possible, and for this it was necessary to make charts, which picked up different sections of the coast, relating them to the courses. The origin of portulan charts is uncertain, although it must be placed between twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The portulano chart was drawn generally on a very fine parchment, using the whole skin of a lamb or bull calf with the neck of the animal habitually towards the left. Occasionally two or more were joined to form extensive maps or atlases. The portulan charts were constructed using compass bearings with distances estimated by “the eye of a good sailor”. They only represented the coast, with little details of the interior and limited geographic features, rivers, mountains, populations, that could serve as reference to the navigator. The toponymy was labelled perpendicularly to the coastline which facilitated its continued reading turning the map. The centres of production of portulan charts are known and agree with the most active ports of the Western Mediterranean (Majorca, Genoa, Venice, Barcelona, Valencia…).
The first cartographic monument of the portulan nautical maps is the Pisana chart. Its name is due to the city of origin of the archivist who acquired the parchment in 1839, to the National Library of Paris, where it is conserved at present. The specialists assign to the chart a Genoese origin and, although it is anonymous, it is dated at the end of the thirteenth century. The map achieves great exactitude of proportions in the design of the coasts and the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. The British Islands appear also although they are drawn with certain incorrectness as much in its dimensions as in the geographic location. Although it is not detected in the facsimile edition, the toponymy is written in black and red.
The portulan chart experts arrived at their more high tops with the dynasty of the Cresques, Abraham and his son Jafuda, who developed their work and constructed their maps in the last quarter of the fourteenth century. Thus he demonstrates the well-known as Atlas Catalán of 1375 that is the most representative of the Middle Ages, and that belongs to the cartography school of Majorca. This atlas, work by Abraham Cresques, was done by order of Pedro de Aragon, king of Majorca. Abraham alternated the chart preparation of the known world with the direction of his workshop, where different astronomical and navigation apparatuses were made, and he was an enthusiastic defender of the Earth spheroid. This atlas, conserved in the National Library of Paris, is a parchment that contains twelve rich illuminated sheets that cover a total surface of 3200 x 250 mm. The four first tables contain interesting texts of geographic and astronomical nature, perpetual calendars, etc. The rest eight sheets make up the map and include the known world up until then. The great extension and scale of the atlas made necessary that the framework of heading lines or “winds” that cross in all directions was formed by four directives circumferences that constitute the reference plot or wrap.
The North limit of the atlas is the Baltic Sea and the southern zone of Norway and Sweden. The South limit begins in Saharan Africa and finalizes in the Eastern Indians. And finally West to East we advanced from the Canary Islands and Madeira to the Eastern islands of the Asian coast. Europe appears correctly drawn, as much in its Atlantic coast as in the most well-known Mediterranean one. The deformation appears in southern territories of Norway, Sweden and the Baltic Sea. Next to Ireland it appears located the legendary and nonexistent island of San Barandan. The austerity of the panels dedicated to Europe (with the exception of North Africa) contrasts with the luxurious ornamentation of the rest of the atlas, where the detailed set of figures stands out. Only too true is that the European geography was far better known that the Asian and that ornamentation covered the less well-known spaces.
The influence of the trips of Marco Polo is remarkable, the atlas collects information of the manuscript that circulated around Western Europe and that was an incentive for the expansion towards the Far East through new commercial routes. The peninsular form of India was clearly displayed for the first time, although the Trapobana Island (present Ceylon, that the tartars called “Great Caulij” with their typical elephant) maintains the deformation of the maps by Erathostenes and Estrabón (the maps by Ptolomeo do not display this error but they mistake the dimensions giving it an excessive size). In Central Asia and China the adventures of the explorers and travellers are reflected, it includes the divisions of the Mongol Empire and great number of lakes, rivers and cities that remain unknown to the West up until then. Here geographic discovery and legend join, next to the regional divisions of the mogul territory, that are accurately located, the mythical figure of Antichrist is displayed in the Cambaluc (Beijing), seat of the Great Kan, collection of the story of the Polo brothers. In the rest of the maps of the time one can only find the classic demarcations of Ptolomeo, or the places inspired by the Bible, like the Earth of Gog and Magog. In Europe, until the appearance of the world maps of the sixteenth century, there is no one better description of Asia.
One of the main differences between the medieval charts of the Majorcan School and world maps is the scientific base of the firsts in front of the theological and religious component of the seconds. Since we have already mentioned the construction technique of portulan charts is based on the calculation of courses and distances between the ports; they come from the experience and they are dedicated to the practice of the navigation. The scientific base of the portulan chart is what more distinguishes them from a medieval world map, having these last ones more theological and religious components. Throughout sixteenth century, Majorca stopped being the centre of this school of cartography and the cartographers who worked in the island settled down in other ports of the Mediterranean. The main cities where they settled down were: Palma de Mallorca, Mesina and Naples throughout the sixteenth century, extending later to Marseilles and Leghorn. Family Prunes remained in the island of Majorca and the Olives emigrated to the cities of the south of Italy where they changed their last name and they began to be called Olive, as it appears in their cartography.
After leaving Majorca in search of other Mediterranean ports of greater marine importance, the Olives workshop moved among Marseilles, Naples and Messina. The Atlas of Joan Riczo Oliva (related with the Oliva family) has 17 maps of 30 x 44 cm. The geographic extension that this atlas includes starts in the Aegean archipelago or the Eastern Mediterranean, then it displays the western Mediterranean and the central part later on; then a world map appears before Turkey, Greece and the Black Sea. After two maps of the Atlantic it displays the Americans maps. Judging by the abundance of compass roses, the use of colour, and the inscriptions (green and gold in the regional ones), it can be considered an example of luxury. The rivers draw attention in it, of exaggerated dimensions, in blue and silver. Also some of the characteristics can be appreciated that define the Majorcan School, as the flag with bars of the Crown of Aragon covering the Majorca island This atlas is bound with 2 later leaves by Maiolo Visconte, of year 1588, that cover all the Mediterranean, but not the Black Sea and without borders and wind roses, having no more decoration than the colourful one of the islands. The author has had the precaution to prepare the wind roses in intersection points of the directive circumference on empty or little toponymy congested places of the chart. There is no regional label.
Chart by Joan Martines, 1586
The cosmographer Joan Martines worked in the Sicilian city of Messina for more than thirty years, making an extensive cartographic work. By his works which are dated and signed with his unmistakable gothic calligraphy and the very personal characteristics of his works, we suppose that it is of Hispanic ancestry, Majorcan, Valencian or possibly Catalan and most probably of converted Jewish parents dedicated to the production of navigation charts and navigation instruments and that, prior to the numerous Olive cartographers family, they moved to Messina when decaying the commerce in the ports of Spanish East Coast and to arise the Messina one as most important in the routes of the Mediterranean at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The navigation chart, facsimile of the original one that is conserved in the Vatican Apostolic Library, made in colour on parchment of 37 x 63 cm. represents the Mediterranean, the Atlantic coast of northern Africa, western Europe, the British Islands, Azores, the Canary Islands and Madeira. In the neck of the parchment, the Virgin with the boy in arms and the signature of the author “Joan Martines en Messina añy 1586”.
The most beautiful and complete work produced by Joan Martines is, beyond the shade of a doubt, the one that is conserved in perfect state in the National Library of Madrid. The General Bureau of Registers and Libraries of the Ministry of Education published in 1973 a facsimile of this codex of 1587 that has contributed to announce and to appreciate its author. Later on, Grial editions was responsible of another facsimile that was published in 2000. There is no doubt that this atlas was commissioned by the King Felipe II, when the expedition against England by the Spanish Armada was being prepared. It contains nineteen maps: two world maps, six navigation charts and eleven maps. When Felipe II had known the described Atlas, he appoints Joan Martines Real Cosmógrafo, and this one happens to be at the service of the Spanish Crown in Naples.
Atlas by Joan Martines, 1570
The Atlas of Joan Martines, dated in Messina year 1570, does not appear to be catalogued in any of the known work lists of this author. This small codex consists of five 295 x 392 mm parchment folios, stacked and glued at the spine to form a book that measures closed 300 x 205 mm, bound in dark brown leather, embossed with ornamental motifs that seem of the time. Its state of conservation is perfect and only the silver of some adornments is somewhat oxidized. Each leaf is framed by an oxblood colour box of about four millimetres in width. The first leaf contains a world map , the second displays the African Atlantic coast mainly , from Espartel to Green Cape; the other three are the quartering of the known as "portulano normal “, that includes the river basins of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, as well as the European Atlantic coast from Gibraltar to Jutlandia. Except for the first leaf, the other four display the same structure: the centre of each directive circumference of sixteen windroses of 282 millimetres of diameter. In each of those knots there are up to thirty and two winds or courses, although the crown lacks some tangent winds, being reduced to thirty. The first leaf includes a world map, where each hemisphere is represented by a 170 mm of diameter circle, in which they appear the parallels and meridians of 15º in 15º, besides the tropics and polar circles. The parallels are equidistant from the Equator straight lines and the meridians are circumference arcs that divide the Equator in equal parts. This projection was very used throughout the sixteenth century and still later, being one of the first using it. The meridian which is origin of the longitudes and that limits both hemispheres seems to be the one of Lanzarote. The map is surrounded by eight illuminated wind-blowers. It is great merit of Joan Martines including in his maps, of 1562, the Straits of Anian to separate America from Asia when the best cartographers of the time continued representing the New World as an Asian appendix.
Alongside with the exodus to other Mediterranean ports, as Mesina or Naples began the period of scientific decay of the portulan charts that extended during fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The new cities in which the cartographic production workshop settled down do not have access to first-hand information that took place in the scientific and discoverer centres of Europe, as they were Seville, Lisbon and Amsterdam. And we notice it because they add little information to their works and they do not incorporate, in the majority of the cases, the recent geographic discoveries. They replaced the shortage of information by the abundance of ornamentation, product of the time in which they made their works. With important exceptions like the portulan atlas of Joan Martines, about which we have already spoken, that includes geographic data that the best cartographers of the time do not know, an example of it is the Straits of Anian. The perfection in the design of the coasts disappeared and the charts were overloaded in ornaments to the detriment of their practical and scientific usefulness. The cartographers and sailors gave way in this mission to the copyists and miniaturists, but in spite of it, the production stayed, many very showy maps survive, mainly those of the Sicilian School of the ones by Olives and Homen. The Atlas of Diego Homen was made in the Venetian exile in 1561 and comprises of an abundant series distributed by the archives of the world. This unit contains 7 charts and one double leaf dedicated to an astronomical calendar of size 460 x 580 mm It details the Mediterranean scope in ordered sectors from West to East, conserving a same scale (approx 1:4.050.000) except in the case of the Adriatic Sea and Crete - Ionian Sea. It displays an overloaded decoration in which fringe, flags, banners and pennant streamers coexist, besides coats of arms and compass roses which are very characteristic of the portuguese manuelino style. The ripieno (filling) includes mountain ranges in cavalier projection and emblems of cities, absolutely different from everything that we have seen in other cartographers. The coastal perimeter, although exaggerated, can be described as serious, and the captions are most systematic and carefully arranged.
This atlas “was acquired by the old deposit of the War in 1901 from the heirs of D. Manuel Rico y Sinobas, who had acquired it in 1884. Its author the Valencian Ivan Ortis compiled an atlas with charts of different origin, a quartering of a classic portulan chart, along with a chart that includes greater extensions. As far as the decorative elements of the atlas, the mountains do not demonstrate any relation with the Majorcan or Catalan school, but rather the landscape scenic style of Portuguese charts of the sixteenth century, whereas the real images and the city panoramas could remember both the Majorcan style and the Italian one”.
The discovery of America
Perhaps the most important fact of all that influenced in the resurgence of Cartographic Engineering was the one of the great discoveries. A series of inventions that affected the naval construction, like the Flemish karak and the Portuguese caravel, and the new types of sails, made it possible this time of such a great historical importance. Other facts that deeply marked the Renaissance of the Cartography in the fifteenth century was the finding of “geographia” by Ptolomeo, although it is certain that his work was never entirely lost because the Arabs conserved it and by means of them it was introduced in the Middle Ages. The Italian humanists delivered a great attack to recover the knowledge of the ancient Greece and Rome and, in the last quarter of the fifteenth century, many editions were printed thanks to the invention of the press and the engraving. The first important discoveries were carried out by the Portuguese throughout the western coast of Africa; and the new territories were shaped in maps of the portulano type; these territories appeared also in the terrestrial globe constructed by Martin Saw, of Nuremberg, in 1492. In this same year Columbus arrived at islands located 70º to the West of Spain, and in successive years there were new discoveries to the South and the North of the new continent, thanks to the brothers Pinzon, the Portuguese Cabral , Sebastian Caboto, etc. In less than 25 years the geographic conception of the known world of the Europeans changed, that was spread in a surprising way. A consequence of the commerce with the New World was the creation in 1503 of the Casa de Contratación (House of Hiring), officially the House and Cort of Indians in Seville, relegating to background the other Spanish ports, especially those of the Mediterranean coast. The Casa de Contratación was created as a monopolizing centre of the commerce and relation with the Indians. Literally its Certificate of creation ordered “to create a hiring house and negotiation of the Indians and the Canary Islands and the other islands that had been discovered and would be to which they were to bring all the merchandizes”. The handwritten charts that have arrived to us and of which all the students agree in indicating as coming from the Casa de Contratación are mentioned next.
It is the first map of the New World. The Chart deserved so little interest by those who had to guard the one that disappeared or was robbed in Seville and nobody in Spain worried about its luck until 1853 when its last possessor died, Baron de Walckenaer, plenipotentiary minister of Holland in Paris and his goods were bid in public auction. A Spanish scholar friend of Walckenaer, Don Ramon de la Sagra, was able after arduous efforts to interest the Spanish Ministry of Navy in the subject and bidding up against English, Russian and a representative of the Imperial Library of Paris, he obtained the document in 4.321 francs and he returned it to Spain, depositing it in the Naval Museum of Madrid where it is today. His author, illustrious sailor from Santoña, shipbuilder, captain and proprietor of the Marigalante ship, projected for the route of Flanders and that was re-baptize as Santa Maria, being at that time in Niebla, he was engaged and accompanied to Columbus in his first trip as Master in his own boat. He was also in the second trip, being in charge specifically of the cartography of the discovered seas and lands. He went back to America and after taking part in diverse expeditions (three of them in the northern coast of South America with Ojeda and Vespucci), he died in his seventh trip fighting with hostile Indians in Gulf of Urab territories, in 1509. As it is usual among us, he collected little fortune and less gratefulness by his services. The chronicler Fray Pedro Simón writes that when he died he had on his body more than twenty wounds made by poisoned arrows. Lopez de Gomara affirms, against other authors, that “the corpse of the pilot was eaten by the Indians”. The chart of Juan de la Cosa is a two directive portulan chart drawn on two joined vella that represents with great fidelity and detail the coast of the Caribbean Sea, the Antilles, line of Ecuador and the Tropic of Cancer. The image of Saint Cristobalon (called Offerus according to the tradition) carrying Christ relates the map with the evangelisation purpose of the Continent. The drawing of S. Cristobal covers the unknown region where the search of a passage towards the Cathay soon began. In the narrow part of the end of the document underneath S. Cristobal, there is the signature of Juan de la Cosa and the date of 1500. This chart responds in the style of the Majorcan School, a sample of it is the ornamentation. The scale for the New World is different from the one from the Old World. America is excessively great, and with partial and badly distributed information, which contrasts with the information of the rest of the map. The form of hook of the Island of Cuba became the symbol of the chart of Juan de la Cosa. It also includes details of the northeaster coast of South America. De la Cosa had to be inspired by a map of the Cabotos because he displays places with a British flag and a legend says: “Sea discovered by the English”, and next to the Breton Cape there is a coastline with names of places that at that time could only be known through the expedition of the Cabotos. Unlike the previous charts, Africa follows the alignment North-South, nearer to his real disposition. It is curious that the map of the world by Henricus Martellus of 1527, maintains the inclination towards the West of Africa, in spite of being subsequent to the chart of Juan de la Cosa .
This great handwritten planisphere by Juan Vespucci, Seville 1526, is the first cartographic registry on the exploration in North America, after been added the findings by Caboto in the chart of Juan de la Cosa. This important map provides the first documented details of the exploration to the north of Florida. Juan Vespucci, nephew of Amerigo Vespucci, had realized several trips to American waters. After the death of Amerigo in Seville in 1512, Juan, who had inherited his uncle's famous maps, charts and navigation instruments, was appointed his successor as official pilot in Seville. Juan in a moment acquired the importance of his uncle as cartographer in the Spanish activities overseas. He was member of the commission of Badajoz-Elvas, of 1524, to try to improve existing charts in order to solve the claims of Spaniards and Portuguese on the Malucas. The same year when he made this map was named examiner of pilots, instead of Sebastian Caboto that was leading an expedition to Brazil. This map is considered like a rough draft or copy from the Spanish official map, conserved in Seville, initially called “real register” and, later, “general register”. The Real Register was a conserved, up-to-date Map of the world and made with the most state of the art technique of the moment constituting the fundamental cartographic document of the Casa de Contratación . Within it, the corrections and information of the new discoveries were included, as they were related under oath by the pilots at their return. It can be considered the first Register of the Chart of Juan de la Cosa of 1500.
The register began to be regulated in 1508, being Piloto Mayor - Head Pilot - Americo Vespucio, and after successive amendments it acquired its most extensive format: comprised of six partial registers or partial quarters according to the 1596 instruction. The planisphere of Juan Vespucci has abundant decoration and the boats that decorate this type of charts appear within the American continent world map of Juan Vespucci. Seville, 1526 and not in the sea. The interior of Africa appears full of representative animals, cities and mountains. In the Asian continent, although animals do not appear, is full of mountainous chains and tents of kings, like in the chart of Juan de la Cosa. The chart has two directive circumferences that have their centres in two compass roses, placed upon Ecuador, not in centre of the line as it was normal; one is in the New Spain and the other in central Africa.
Diego Ribero, Portuguese cartographer who lived in Seville at the service of Carlos I, is the author of this important and famous map and a copy of the Spanish Official General Register. He was successor of Sebastian Caboto as Head Pilot; position for which he was very qualified, since it had sailed until India with Vasco de Gama and Alburquerque. The extension of the attributions and activity of the Casa de Contratación happened gradually. In 1508 the position of Head Pilot was created, and it fell on Amerigo Vespucci; later on the one of Cosmógrafo was created in 1523, being the first Diego Ribero and, finally, the one of University professor of Cosmography in 1552 that fell on Jerónimo de Chaves. Actually at first the Head Pilot accumulated all the scientific and executive activity of the Center.
Later on, the development of the same, forced him to remove and to delegate functions in the new mentioned positions. It corresponded to Ribero, as Head Pilot, the preparation and instruction of all the Spanish pilots who tried to make the sea-route to India. He examined the pilots when they returned, and incorporated to the register map the last discoveries, corrections and deviations that they contributed. Ribero was, for example, the one that included the important received information of the survivors of the trip of circumvallation of Magallanes. In the chart, animals, exotic plants of unknown species, precious boats and compass roses appeared excellently drawn. The combination of the artistic and the scientific are emphasized by means of meticulous drawings of the astrolabe and the quadrant, at the left and right bottom, and the elaborated scaled declination concerning the West of America. Diego Ribero was the first who used in his maps this type of scientific decoration, replacing the traditional religious subjects. In the bottom line of the Chart two flags, one of Portugal and the other of Spain can be seen, to both sides of the demarcation line, located in the Antarctic pole each watching its respective territory. Also to both sides of the astrolabe there is not only the flag of Castile but also the one of Portugal, wich look towards their zone of influence.
Manuscript by Pedro de Medina. Parchment in colours inserted in it. The demarcation line in the fold of the parchment includes a very small part of Brazil, against charts of the Portuguese. Next to the demarcation line there is a scale of latitudes from 90 degrees S, to 90 degrees N, divided in steps of 5 degrees. The tropics, Ecuador and polar circles are drawn. And in the bottom angles there are two linear scales. The chart is structured on a central rose, placed in Ecuador around the Orinoco River and several compass roses that form a circle around. Diverse galleons decorate the blank spaces that are occupied by the oceans.
World Map by Peter Apianus, 1524
At the same time of the graphical shape of new land in Europe they appeared the so called cosmographies. It happens to be books that grouped astronomical knowledge, also about history, sciences, illustrated and with maps. One of the first and most popular ones was the one of the mathematician and astronomer who remade the projection of Hiparco, Peter Apianus published in 1524 and which reproduces a baroque world map in the form of truncated coat of arms.
The Cartography by Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy, astronomer and Greek mathematician, who lived in Alexandria between 90 and 168 A.D. had the extraordinary merit of having established the basic principles of the scientific cartography and to have initiated the accomplishment of the first maps of this type, developing the most advisable projections to represent the sphere on a plane. His most celebrated work, “geographia”, is divided in eight books, in the first he establishes the best way to determine the position of the places by means of the astronomical observation and of the itineraries of the travellers and also how to project the spherical surface of the Earth on a plane. The following six books contain a brief description of countries, regions and cities with their corresponding geographical co-ordinates. The last book serves to review to 26 regional maps. This work picks up altogether the positions of more than 8000 places. In order to elaborate his own cartography he reviewed, among others, the works of Marino de Tiro, mathematician and geographer, who is only known by the influence that he had on them. We can say that the work of Ptolemy represents the compendium of all the Greek cartography. The cartography of Ptolemy has arrived until us thanks to a series of manuscripts of the last stage of the Byzantine Empire. The experts discuss if the maps of the Byzantine codices are original of Ptolemy or are copies and what their exact chronology is. It is not clear that the wise geographer drew the maps that are attributed to him, since any manuscript previous to the twelfth century is not conserved. It is said that the world map was made by Agatodemon of Alexandria, contemporary of Ptolemy. The Byzantine monk Maximos Planudes, medieval collector who lived between 1260 and 1310, after laborious search he managed to discover a manuscript by Ptolemy today, that is today conserved in the archives of the Vatican Library. According to the references of this monk, this manuscript did not contain maps, reason for which he drew a chart set, following the instructions of Ptolemy. Through his indications it was easy to do it, and thus successive editions were made of his work, improving gradually with the correction of their data and the contribution of other new ones. Its influence in the fifteenth century played a double role. Positively it introduced the bases of the modern cartography, recovering the Greek culture, but it played a regressive role with respect to the calculation of the terrestrial dimensions, considering them very inferiors to the real ones. Ptolemy did not base on the correct calculations of Eratosthenes (272-200 b.C), astronomer and mathematician who was director of the library of Alexandria. This error influenced decisively in the Columbian theory to reach territories of the Great Khan, or emperor of China, sailing towards the west, giving rise, paradoxically, to the discovery of America.
Andreas Walsperger, 1448
The influence of the work of Ptolemy appears already in an obvious way in the maps of the world of the fifteenth century, like the one of Andreas Walsperger of 1448. Facsimile of the original one in the Vatican Library. Rome. The will of the author was to represent the world using “the divisions by climates”, the Ptolemaic latitudes and longitudes and the contributions of navigation charts. It is oriented to the south. By means of a diversification of colours, red and black, the cities of Christian or unfaithful belief are discriminated. In the borders of Asia gather descriptive data coming from the stories of travellers and navigators who dealt with spices. The feudal castle represents the Earthly Paradise in East where the four rivers arise Rammer, Tigris, the Euphrates and Ghicon. Jerusalem is in centre of the orb, over it the Red Sea stands out, and between the rivers of unexplored Africa, there is the known Nile River that springs up in mounts of the Moon.
Cosmography by Claudius Ptolemy. Latin codex Fifteenth Century
The original codex of the atlas of Ptolemy that belonged to the library of Alfonso the Magnanimous in Naples, passed later to the hands of Fernando de Aragon, Duke of Calabria, who bequeathed it to the monastery of San Miguel de los Reyes, in Valencia, from where, when taking place the confiscation of Mendizabal, was transferred to its present place, the University Library of Valencia. It contains 27 maps, a world map and 26 regional ones (10 of Europe, 4 of Africa and 12 of Asia). The world map known in the time of Ptolemy, is drawn up according to the conical projection described by this one, and the regional maps according to a trapezoidal projection. J. Fischer affirms that the author of this map is Donnus Nicolaus Germanus. This codex occupies an intermediate place between the codex of the National Library of Naples and the Codex Ebnerianus of the N.Y. Public Library. It lacks the representation of the zodiac, but contains the indication of the different maps. The colour of the land is white and the one of the seas dark blue. The mountains are dark yellow with dark rays and green forests. The cities of astronomically settled position have not been distinguished. The codex of Valencia, the oldest of the manuscripts that display the maps of Ptolemy, with the so called Donnis projection. A facsimile of this original is conserved in the Fundación Giménez Lorente.
World Map by Martin Waldseemüller. Strasbourg, 1507
As the news of the geographic discoveries of the fifteenth century were arriving and with the purpose of updating, correcting and bringing up to date the maps by Ptolemy, they were made some maps that used to go at the end of the original maps and they were called “tabulae novellae”. Besides hand-written copies, out of number, we must count the seven editions of the Geographia of Ptolemy that were done from 1475 to 1490. After a lapse of 17 years it appeared in Rome, in 1508, another edition with a double map of cuneiform form by Johann Ruysch. From 1508 to 1548 there were 17 editions in which went incorporating more “tabulae novellae”, realized by famous Italian and Central European cartographers. The edition of Strasbourg contained 20 new maps that were made by Waldsemüller who was the one that organized the most important published maps in Europe during the first decades of the great discoveries. The enormous world map of 1507 was the first printed version of a series called by the modern scholars, the Lusitano-Germanic group. The map of Waldseemüller offers for the first time a concept of maximum importance, the fact, cartographically established, of the separation of North America from Asia that does not appear in the majority of later maps. The new world displays a coastline to the West, which demonstrates for the first time the existence of another sea, the present Pacific sea that separates America from Asia, leaving Japan between both. On the other hand it appears mapped the supposed Central American strait that separates North America from South America and that connects both oceans, although at the top part of the map there is a small reproduction of America which does not display the supposed straits. The most important objective of the last trip of Columbus was to look for this Strait, with the purpose of finding the passage by sea towards the Indians. It is important to say that in this map displays for the first time, in a dated map, the name of “America” on the continent of the South. The prestige of Waldseemüller put name to the New World in honour, not of the man who discovered it, but of another traveller, Amerigo Vespucci. In a pamphlet that accompanied the map his author said: “I do not see that it is possible to be opposed to call Americia, that is to say, Americo's land, his discoverer, a man of deep understanding… or America, since as much Europe or Asia have names derived from others of women”. Nevertheless the name of America was not used until Apiano and Mercator called this way the northern part of the new continent.
Terre Nove by Martin Waldseemüller. Strasbourg, 1513
In 1513 Waldseemüller published the edition of the most important Ptolemy Geography of the sixteenth century. That edition included “modern” Terre Nove and other nineteen maps. By then Waldseemüller had already noticed the tremendous injustice, when he named the entire discovered zone in honour of Amerigo Vespucci, ignoring the name of Christopher Columbus. In the map Terre Nove no longer appears the word “America” and in addition he added a commentary of two lines underneath Ecuador in which he indicates that Columbus was his authentic discoverer, sailing on behalf of the king of Spain. In the introduction of the volume, Waldseemüller identifies the “Admiral” as the direct source of intelligence for the elaboration of his map of the New World. No other captain during that time was known by that title. For that reason Terre Nove, with the information provided by Columbus, is commonly well-known as “the Chart of the Admiral”.