500 year old map of ‘America’ discovered in Munich

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A previously unknown version of Martin Waldseemüller’s famous world map has been disocvered in the collections of the University Library in Munich. On this map, the New World appears for the first time under the name “America”, chosen to honor the explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1451 – 1512), whom Waldseemüller erroneously regarded as the discoverer of the continent.

Waldseemüller and his colleague Matthias Ringmann created the map in their workshop in the monastery of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges around the year 1507. Four other versions of the map are known to exist, and one of them was sold at auction in 2005 for $1 million. This fifth version is created in so-called globe segments, which depict the world in twelve individual segments, or rather surface wedges, which taper to a point at each end and are printed on a single sheet, like cut-outs on construction paper. When correctly arranged, they form a small globe of about 11 cm in diameter. And in the three rightmost wedges, one sees a huge, boomerang-shaped landmass in the middle of an immense ocean. The globe places America in the remotest West, seen from Europe and Africa, on the far side of a wide, wide sea....

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