Nautical chart of the North-East Atlantic, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea by Christopher Columbus - 14th Century
At the Heat of the Maps
This 15th century anonymous nautical chart could not be accurately dated. Charles de La Roncière ascribed it to Christopher Columbus in 1924. This portolan is divided into two parts by a line enhanced with gold and which represent two distinct spaces. The right-hand side is a nautical chart of the Mediterranean and includes Portuguese discoveries in Africa extending as far as the Gulf of Guinea, and also speculative territories in the North Atlantic Ocean. A small world map is depicted on the left, which encapsulates European geographical knowledge on the brink of the discovery of America. It is enclosed in nine celestial circles reflecting the geocentric view of the universe that still prevailed at the time.
A map kept at the French national library BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France), Maps and Plans Department, shelf mark number GE AA-562 (RES)
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