Skip to comments.Map that named America is a puzzle for researchers
Posted on 12/04/2007 8:47:54 AM PST by WOBBLY BOB
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The only surviving copy of the 500-year-old map that first used the name America goes on permanent display this month at the Library of Congress, but even as it prepares for its debut, the 1507 Waldseemuller map remains a puzzle for researchers.
Why did the mapmaker name the territory America and then change his mind later? How was he able to draw South America so accurately? Why did he put a huge ocean west of America years before European explorers discovered the Pacific?
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Great post, thanks.
BFLR: I’m waiting for some smart Freepers to add some insight here...
Its all been done before,Atlantis, Mu, everything.
Americi (or Amerigo) Vespucci, after whom America is named, is shown on the top right of the map.
Yes I am.
*shifts eyes left, then right*
But how did you know???
Silk road and other trade routes probably gave info about the Pacific, but the west coast of South America is unexplained if one continues to insist on no pre-Columbian contact by places like China, Japan and India.
The name of an Indian tribe and of a district in Nicaragua called Amerrique, this district rich in gold had been visited by both Columbus and Vespucci, who then made this name known in Europe. For both explorers the words Amerrique and gold became synonymous. Subsequently, Vespucci changed his Christian name from Alberico to Amerigo.
A Chinese emperor’s fleet supposedly circumnavigated the globe before Magellan. If so, and due to Italy’s trade with China in the 1300s & 1400s, perhaps the map maker had heard of an ocean beyond the Americas.
That’s a big red dot, if it can be seen from space.
The map seems to depict a large mountain range on the western edge of north america. That’s also quite interesting.
It's supposed to be Japan, which was known via trade.
Good link. Interesting.
Thanks waggs. "I'm Amerigo Vespucci, and you're not." [pic deleted]
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I had placed the cartographer's representation of Japan further south -- among the clutch of islands north of the Indonesian archipelago.
That’s the best explanation so far. The name is much older than Columbus and so was the gold mining.
The map lables that island as “Zipangri”, and places it on the Tropic of Cancer. People are looking at the severly distorted projection of the main map. Look at the small globes at the top for a more conventional “mercator” like projection. It becomes clear that the mapmakers were just depicting what was known of the East coast, and guessing at the rest, based on what was known had to be there. Since the Pacific WAS known to be East of Asia, logically, it had to be WEST of the new lands.
Vespucci recognized what Columbus did not - that these lands were NOT the back end of the Indies, but an entirely new continent - and he explored all down the coast, interacting with many different groups of natives...just in his first voyage in 1497 - *He reported on this in great detail, not just the people, flora and fauna but the latitudes and longitudes, coast line, harbors and rivers - and excursions inland - made another voyage in 1502 and possibly another in 1503 - all BEFORE this map was made ---- duh
Thanks for the clarification.
It’s not true. In fact, it’s just left-wing propaganda.
...The most explosive, haunting, almost credible etymology — the so-called Amerrique theory which was first advanced in 1875 — reappeared in the late 1970s in an essay by Guyanan novelist Jan Carew, titled “The Caribbean Writer and Exile.” ...Carew moves from the “fictions” of Columbus to those of Vespucci with these striking words: “Alberigo Vespucci, and I deliberately use his authentic Christian name, a Florentine dilettante and rascal, corrected Columbus’s error [thinking he had found the Orient] â¦ Vespucci, having sailed to the American mainland declared that what Columbus had indeed stumbled on was a New World.” ...Carew is resurrecting the ideas of Jules Marcou, a prominent French geologist who while studying North America argued, as did other 19th-century writers, that the name America was brought back to Europe from the New World; and that Vespucci had changed his name to reflect the name of his discovery. Specifically, Marcou introduced the name of an Indian tribe and of a district in Nicaragua called Amerrique, and asserted that this district — rich in gold — had been visited by both Columbus and Vespucci, who then made this name known in Europe... Subsequently, according to Marcou’s account, Vespucci changed his Christian name from Alberico to Amerigo... Like Marcou, Carew wants us to believe that America was not named after Vespucci, but vice versa; that Vespucci had, so to speak, re-named himself after his discovery, gilding his given name by modifying it to reflect the significance of his discovery... First of all, Vespucci’s name must be cleared... Vespucci was born in 1454 in Florence, where he was baptized, according to the official record, “Amerigho [not, as Carew asserts, Alberigo] Vespucci”; the use of the form Amerigho for Amerigo is an instance of the orthographic anarchy that existed in the spelling of proper names.
North America was well known to the sea going navigators well before Columbus = but we don't hear much about them because they weren't 'explorers' out to find riches not were they funded by the potentates.
They were people who merely wanted, quietly, to find safe harbor out from under the kings and/or the church, to live their lives to their own dictates.
To bad about the miners who were exiled there.
their sponsors, the kingdoms of Europe, didn't want competitors knowing the secret trade routes.
Read “1421” for details of this hypothesis...
The Chao says Mu.
I was reading it. Stalled out about 20% in. Began to suspect it is largely a work of fiction.
I thought it was very interesting that in the lower area of the east coast of NA they labeled a Cape Biaxa. I looked it up in Portuguese and that is Low Cape. It even appears situated between what looks like the Savannah River and maybe the Cape Fear.
It is called the low country today. Is that just a coincidence?
Well, if you posit that the Americas are a new continent—and you know that India/China abut an ocean—it’s not a big reach to assume that is an ocean between India/china and the Americas.
I think you’re right. Plus the monastery in which the map was made/copied could have been acting as a central clearing house for other maps. Hence you get new maps that draw on several older souces, picking & chosing from the best available information. Kinda like the late Middle Ages equivalent of Rand-McNally.
Mormon Alert Ping... Just kidding!
And it's Bush's fault!!!
...or that magnificent bastard, Rove.
And printed in the bottom margin.
bookmarking for later.