Map of Europe, Africa, and the Americas, 1551.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 21cm x 32cm

Map of Europe, Africa, and the Americas, 1551.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Illustration from 'Breve compendio de la sphera y de la arte de navegar' (1551) by Martin Cortes (1532-1589), showing the 'New World' of the Americas. This continent was unknown to the Europeans until 1492 when Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean. The 'Breve compendio' ('Short compendium of the world and of the art of navigation') consists of three parts: the first twenty chapters deal with the composition of the world and the universal principles of the art of navigation; the second twenty chapters consider the movements of the sun and the moon and the effects they produce; and the final fourteen chapters deal with the construction and use of instruments and the rules of the art of navigation.

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