Map of the Day

Published:May 8, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe

Die Neuwen Inseln, So Hinder Hispanien Gegen Orient Bey Dem Land India Ligen (The New Islands Lie Beyond Spain Towards the Orient near India) by Sebastian Münster (1489–1552), ca. 1550 (Library of Congress)

Here’s some context:

Münster’s map of the western hemisphere is the first printed map to show North and South America as completely separate from Asia. The land mass in the upper left contains the label India, and the island of Zipangri, or Japan, is shown off the west coast of Central America. The Strait of Magellan is labeled off the southern tip of South America, and Magellan’s ship Victoria is shown in the Pacific Ocean. Also of note is the Sea of Verrazano in North America, a great inland sea thought by the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano to lie to the west of the Outer Banks of North Carolina before the mainland in that area had been explored. In South America, a forest in Brazil with a human leg hanging from a tree is labeled Canibali, or Cannibals, and the region of Argentina is labeled Regio Gigantum, or Land of Giants.