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The map that changed the world

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Author Topic: The map that changed the world  (Read 635 times)
Kumbalek
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« on: October 29, 2009, 02:42:23 am »

Almost exactly 500 years ago, in 1507, Martin Waldseemuller and Matthias Ringmann, two obscure Germanic scholars based in the mountains of eastern France, made one of the boldest leaps in the history of geographical thought - and indeed in the larger history of ideas.

Near the end of an otherwise plodding treatise titled Introduction to Cosmography, they announced to their readers the astonishing news that the world did not just consist of Asia, Africa, and Europe, the three parts of the world known since antiquity. A previously unknown fourth part of the world had recently been discovered, they declared, by the Italian merchant Amerigo Vespucci, and in his honour they had decided to give it a name: America.
   
"What is coming into focus is a document that is far richer, far stranger, and much more historically valuable than had previously been imagined."
Toby Lester

But that was just the beginning. Waldseemuller and Ringman in fact had written the Introduction to Cosmography merely as a companion volume to their magnum opus: a giant and revolutionary new map of the world. It's known today as the Waldseemuller map of 1507.
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