Map of South America

Date: 1596
Owner: John Carter Brown Library, Brown University
Source Type: Maps


This Dutch map from 1596 is in many ways on the threshold of modern mapping, but retains several elements characteristic of fifteenth century charts. It includes a scale and the degrees of latitude along both the top and bottom of the page. Yet in lieu of graticule, this chart has a single compass rose with the standard thirty two lines, albeit one that points to geographic, as opposed to magnetic, north. While it includes territories that are clearly marked by color as well as their principle cities, Brazilian cannibals, Patagonian giants, and fabulous creatures are also drawn. Despite these misconceptions, it is significant to note that there are no regions labeled as terra incognita; Europeans were becoming confident that their exploration and empirical observations enabled them to know the entire world.

CITATION: van Langren, Arnold Florent. Delineatio omnium orarum totius Australis partis Americae... Afbeelinghe van alle See-custen des gheelen Zuyderschen deels van America. 1596. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.