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DESCRIPTION: Just as the Juan de la Cosa map (#305) graphically dramatizes the impact of Columbus on Renaissance Europe, the Cantino planisphere glorifies the achievements of the great Portuguese navigators of the same period, including Vasco da Gama, Cabral, and the Corte-Real brothers.
Cantino having occasion to return to Italy, took the map with him, left it in Genoa to be forwarded to Ferrara; and from Rome, wrote a letter to his master.
The large manuscript world chart is a a€?planispherea€? drawn on vellum, colored and gilt, and measures 218 x 102 cm and is the earliest surviving Portuguese map of new discoveries in the East and West. From the moment that we admit the existence of a map which exhibited the northwestern continental region as reaching only to the Tropic of Cancer, we may presume that there may also have been a map which represented that land ten degrees shorter still; inasmuch as such is, prima facie at least, its latitudinal area in the map of Cantino.
The latest geographical datum in the present map is, at the north, the legend expressing fears that Gaspar Corte-Real had perished: e crese que he perdido.
The names north and south of Porto Seguro, on the Atlantic coast, were inscribed, as already stated, after the map had been delivered to Cantino, but very soon afterwards, and at Lisbon.
As to the northwestern configuration, the historian Henry Harrisse is hesitant to believe that it appeared in Cantino for the first time. Evidence of when an early manuscript was produced is essential in determining its priority and significance. The American coastline remains fragmentary, because up to this time probes had been made only to the West Indies, Nova Scotia-Newfoundland, part of the South American coast, and possibly Florida. In the north Iceland is placed very nearly in its proper location and the Corte-Real landfalls in Greenland and Labrador (1500-01) are marked by Portuguese flags and by the legend contained in a banderol (against Greenland): This land which was discovered by order of . Farther west, majestic trees on the large island labeled Terra del Rey de portugall [Land of the King of Portugal] in the North Atlantic recall the description of the east coast of Newfoundland given by the Corte-Reals when they returned to Lisbon in October 1501. These two maps, the Cantino and the Caveri, both of Portuguese background, are the basis of the cartographical series, dominant for the next quarter century, which Harrisse aptly named the Lusitano-Germanique Group or Type (Ganong refers to this map as a Vespucci Type).
As the name indicates, that series of charts and globes was based upon data sent from Portugal. Cast far away into the sea, to the northeast of the northwest coast, there was Newfoundland, designated as Terra de Corte-Real; whilst Greenland, under the name of Terra laboratoris, assumed the shape of a long and narrow island, stretching from east to west. 2.The second type set forth the same South American configurations as the first, but with the Venezuelan coast unbroken. 3.The third type differed from the Cantino chart with respect to the northwestern continental region by its extension southward about five degrees, and additional names inscribed on the northern coast. 4.The fourth type differed from the preceding by a more complete or elaborate delineation of the northeastern continental region, which here extended, southwardly, about eleven degrees, with insular additions. This fourth type is represented by the curious planisphere of Nicolay de Caveri (#307), and, with modifications, in the SchA¶nerean globes (#330, #345). 5.The fifth type presented the same nomenclature and configurations as the preceding, but probably with different legends or general titles for the north and south continental regions. 1.A map with Cuba exhibited in an insular form, according to the first statements of Columbus himself, and without any continental region situated west of that island.
2.A map with Cuba (called Ilha yssabella) represented together with a western continent close to it, but the latter extending southward only to about our 20 degrees 30 minutes north latitude. 3.A map resembling the preceding, but with its northeastern coast prolonged through a gulf, about five degrees southwardly.
5.A map with a continuous coastline, connecting definitely both sections of the American continent.
This evolution found its last term when the Lusitanian nomenclature, which is inscribed on that continental region, was blended with configurations borrowed from the Sevillan Hydrography, upon the latter appearing directly for the first time in Central Europe. In the succeeding two years, two of the Portuguese maps in the so-called Kunstmann Series, one of them by Pedro Reinel show the Newfoundland area with full indication of Portuguese sovereignty and occupancy.
All of these were manuscript maps of limited circulation, but in 1506 appeared in Florence, engraved by Francesco Roselli, a world map (#308) on a conical projection constructed by Giovanni Matteo Contarini. The maps of the first type have exercised little or no influence on the contemporary cartographers of Central Europe. By comparing together the configurations of that northwestern continental land in the maps which represent what we call Types II, III, IV, and V, the reader will notice and bear in mind that in Cantino (Type II), the said region ends at the south with a sort of peninsula trending eastward. A significant point to be kept in mind in the discussion of the maps of Cantino and Caveri and their chief derivative, the WaldseemA?ller world map of 1507 (#310), is that, whether or not they regarded Newfoundland as an island, they showed Verrazzano and his contemporaries no connection of solid land between Newfoundland and the Florida landmass portrayed on them.
It is to be observed as a matter of special interest that the makers of both the Cantino and Caveri maps intended to convey the belief that the two continents of North and South America formed a grand division of the earth separated from both Europe and Asia and lying between the two. Area A is the continental land that emerges from the northwestern extremity of the map, and trends eastwards.
Area B represents its peninsula, with one of the names that serve to identify the relative positions in Lusitano-Germanic maps and globes. Area C is the west end of the island of Cuba, here called, as in all that class of maps, Ilha yssabella. If we are seeing Cuba (C) and Florida (B), no one knows from whom this information came, as Florida was not formally discovered until 1513. Northwest of Ilha yssabella a coastline is laid down marked Parte de Assia and bearing names from Columbusa€™ first two voyages.
Lawrence Wroth and other historians of New World discoveries believe that both Cuba and Florida were depicted, and that Cantinoa€™s chart was the prototype for the important maps of the Lusitano-Germanic series. The Brazilian coast is decorated with Portuguese flags, beautiful parrots and trees and announcements of the landing in April 1500 by the Portuguese, Pedro Alvares Cabral.
The African continent is shown for the first time with something closely approaching its correct outline: on the east coast the names of Soffala, Mozambique, Kilwa, and Melinde occur, and the island of Madagascar is inserted but not named. The main feature to be noted with regard to Asia is the almost complete abandonment of Ptolemya€™s conception of the southern coasts, and the great reduction in the longitudinal extent of the continent. The so-called King-Hamy chart (#307.1), also dated 1502, is interesting as showing the Ptolemaic conceptions of Asia in the process of being fitted to the new discoveries in the west. The Cantino chart, therefore, demonstrates clearly that Portuguese cosmographers had entirely abandoned the Alexandriana€™s figures, and were already aware that the Spanish discoveries in the west, far from neighboring on Cipangu [Japan] and the Asian mainland, were separated from them by an interval of almost half the circumference of the globe. The Cantino planisphere is the earliest extant example of the so-called latitude chart, which was developed following the introduction of astronomical navigation, during the second half of the 15th century.


The construction of the rhumb line system in the Cantino planisphere uses two circles (some charts use only one, others use as many as three, depending of size): the western circle is centered on the Cape Vert Islands, the eastern circle is centered in India.
Shown above, the rhumb-line construction scheme and geographic lines in the Cantino planisphere, adapted from Gaspar. Farther west, majestic trees on the large island labeled Terra del Rey de portugall [Land of the King of Portugal] in the North Atlantic recall the description of the east coast of Newfoundland given by the Corte-Reals when they returned to Lisbon in October 1501.A A  A year or possibly two years later there appeared the Nicolo de Caveri world map (#307), the work of a Genoese cartographer, depending in many, but not all particulars, upon the Cantino production.
These two maps, the Cantino and the Caveri, both of Portuguese background, are the basis of the cartographical series, dominant for the next quarter century, which Harrisse aptly named the Lusitano-Germanique Group or Type (Ganong refers to this map as a Vespucci Type).A  Harrisse discusses the influence of this Lusitano-Germanic type of map both on the geography of the New World and mapmakers in Central Europe for more than twenty-five years. Northwest of Ilha yssabella a coastline is laid down marked Parte de Assia and bearing names from Columbusa€™ first two voyages.A  This area, which is incomplete and partially off the map, perhaps is the greatest unsolved cartographic puzzle of the period. Its rock-solid stabilization and precise ball head-enabled positioning allow you to capture professional-quality images without the size and weight of a traditional full-size camera tripod system. Its rock-solid stabilization and precise ball head-enabled positioning allow you to capture professional-quality images without the size and weight of a traditional full-size tripod system. This, one of the first sea charts of the era of European trans-Atlantic discovery that can be precisely dated, is a manuscript born of controversy and intrigue. Wishing to cover a common screen, he had the map pasted on its folds, after cutting off and throwing away the top margin, which doubtless contained a title engrossed in large gothic letters, the tail end of one of which is still visible. A few years afterwards, the librarian of the Biblioteca Estense, the Signor Boni, happening to pass in the Via Farini, noticed in the shop of a pork butcher, called Giusti, the Cantino chart still put to such ignominious use.
It represents the known world at the exciting moment when Europe was learning of its actual extent. It is not likely that such an elaborate planisphere, executed for a prince, should have been left without some ornamented frame. In the present state of the enquiry, the critic is bound, therefore, to accept, as being within the meaning of the original cartographer, the configuration and extent of that continental land as we find them measured and depicted in the said map. He states that it doubtless originated with other maps, and proceeded from a type on which had been grafted data borrowed from fragmentary surveys brought by mariners of different nations, as we suppose, and who must have visited that coast several times in the course of clandestine expeditions.
For example, several key but undated maps were made in the first years of the 16th century, but the primacy of the 1502 Cantino world map is established on the basis of its date.
Portions of this explored area were recorded, but gaps in the coastline were not filled in until further explorations. That is, the configurations and nomenclatures were derived from maps constructed by Lusitanian cosmographers, with information furnish-end at the close of the 15th century by Spanish or Portuguese navigators, and which soon afterwards found their way into Lorraine and Germany. We possess only what may be called a€?derivativesa€?, more or less direct, some in manuscript others engraved, the complete affiliation of which cannot be established, as we do not know how many productions of that character have intervened, or when they were devised, nor precisely in what form originally.
A striking peculiarity consisted of a wide break on the north coast of the southern continent, between Brazil and Venezuela.
The West Indian archipelago was also complete, including Cuba, which is there named Ilha yssabella. But, notwithstanding cartographical distortions, due chiefly to the kind of projection adopted by the maker of the map, the original profiles of that continental land can be easily recognized in the corresponding region depicted by Johann Ruysch in his mappamundi (#313). Its material difference from the three last types above described, consisted in a continuous coastline connecting the northwestern mainland with the southern continent. In this production the Newfoundland-Labrador area is shown with the specific label: Hanc terram invenere naute Lusitanor[um] Regis. What Harrisse calls the Lusitano-Germanic cartography begins only with the introduction of mappamundi that belonged to the second type. All the other maps have such a scale; unfortunately, it can be of no service in this analysis. Wrotha€™s discussion of the northern discoveries as an element in the Verrazzano story, he states that the Cantino and Caveri maps take a place of great significance for many reasons, good and bad. This belief is graphically portrayed in the Caveri map where open water borders the western shore of the North American continent. There is speculation that an early Amerigo Vespucci voyage may have been the source, or that an unknown Portuguese pilot could have unofficially sailed through Spanish waters before 1500 and coasted Florida. These delineations, such as the WaldsemA?ller wall map (#310), did much to illuminate the New World for Europeans.
There is no reference to the arrival on the north part of the coast in 1499 of Vicente Pinzon, Columbusa€™ early partner. This area of the planisphere shows Africa and the Indian Ocean as known to the Portuguese after the voyages of Vasco da Gama (1497-99) and Cabral (1500-01) and later discoveries reported in Lisbon as recently as September 1502.
These appear to mark the limit of first-hand knowledge; beyond, the outline must have been inserted largely by second-hand report.
The southeastern coastline of Asia is shown as lying approximately 160A° east of the Line of Demarcation, a figure very close to the truth.
This chart has many features of the Ptolemy world map in Southeast Asia, where Malacha and Cattigara appear together, but the point of importance is that the longitudinal extent eastwards from the demarcation line to the southeast Asian coast is still approximately 220 to 230 degrees.
Contrarily to the portolan charts of the Mediterranean, which were constructed on the basis of magnetic courses and estimated distances between places, in the latitude chart places were represented according to their latitudes.
In that year the map suffered the fate of the entire ducal library and collections, and was transferred to Modena when Pope Clement VIII despoiled Cesare da€™Este of his duchy. One assumes that its maker had been allowed to study the Cantino map while that document lay in Genoa. Although yssabella strongly resembles Cuba, and the peninsula to the northwest could be Florida, there are several theories to the contrary.
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He bought the map, removed the vellum from the screen, and presented that all-important geographical monument to the Este Library where it is now preserved. Due to the size of this chart, the coasts are shown in considerable detail, and, as shown above, the place-names are numerous.
There is, besides, a long easel stroke near the northern extremity of the line of demarcation, which has the appearance of the lower end of an ornate capital letter, which may have belonged to a running title.
The ad quem date is fixed by the letter from Alberto Cantino, then in Rome, to Ercole da€™Este, dated November 19, 1502, saying that the chart made in Portugal at the Dukea€™s order had been left for him with an agent in Genoa.


A new and important feature was, west and north of that island, an extensive continental region running from south to north, bearing no general title, but dotted with many names of capes, rivers, and landing places; the east coast bathed by the Oceanus occidentalis. Neither do we possess a direct specimen of this fourth type; but it certainly revives in the mappamundi of Stobnicza (#319), and in the Tabula Terre Nove of WaldseemA?ller (#320).
One of their common features is their location of Newfoundland as an island, says Harrisse, a€?cast far away into the seaa€? to the east or northeast of that American continental landmass which they admirably portrayed. The conclusion in the case of the Cantino map must be arrived at by consideration of the fact that it shows only 257A° of the 360A° of the eartha€™s surface and that its eastern coast of Asia is shown as bordering on open water.
Again, prominently shown is the Line of Demarcation of the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed by Spain and Portugal in June 1494. The fact that the cartographer has a legend on the discoveries in the northeast American shores stating that they were thought to be part of Asia does not controvert this.
In the Cantino planisphere, latitudes were incorporated only in the coasts of Africa, Brazil and India, while Europe and the Caribbean Sea continued to be represented according to the portolan chart model. The western and eastern outer circles are tangent to each other at a large wind-rose in central Africa, with a fleur-de-lis indicating North.
There is also an elaborate depiction of the Portuguese castle of SA?o Jorge da Mina (Elmina Castle, on the Gold Coast of west Africa), flanked by two African towns. The Duke having expressed a desire to obtain a map illustrating those voyages, Cantino ordered it from a cartographer living in Lisbon, and whom some scholars suspect to have been an Italian artist.A  Historian Henry Harrissea€™s opinion is that there were then in Portugal several Italian artists who made maps, not as cartographers, but as copyists and miniaturists (the maps of Nicolas de Caveri #307 and Kunstamann No. Though upon it is found no statement referring to Corte-Real or the King of Portugal, in the northern area it bears, as indication of sovereignty, the Portuguese flag upon the southern tips of Greenland and Newfoundland.
One is that the anonymous Portuguese mapmaker confused Spanish reports of the configuration of the newly discovered islands and duplicated Cuba; first as the island but also as the incompletely explored area to the northwest. Information from returning mariners was assembled by cartographers to form official charts for kings and their advisors.
Duca Hercole [a€?this sea chart of the islands recently discovered in the regions of the Indies has been presented to the Duke of Ferrara, Ercole da€™Este, by Alberto Cantinoa€?]. This, together with the act that the map, when rescued from the butchera€™s shop, was pasted on a screen after it had been stolen from the palace of the Dukes of Ferrara, indicate that the map may have suffered, on the part of its last owner, an excision all around the border.
To the northeast of that land, and at a great distance, lay an insular country ascribed to the Corte-Reals; and, still more easterly, Greenland, but this time in the form of an extensive peninsula, trending west from Northern Europe. In another discussion of its character Harrisse affirms his belief, now generally accepted, that Cantino did not intend to represent this Newfoundland-Labrador landmass as an island, but as the known eastern extension of a supposed continental land not definitely located. By having the western coast of his North American continent coincide with the western edge of the map, he left indefinite the length of its westward extension, but it seems reasonable to believe that the missing 103A° of his design comprised not only westward-extending land but beyond it water of the same ocean that washed the eastern shore of Asia. This, and the map of Juan de la Cosa (#305), are the oldest surviving maps to bear this historic line.
The places whose latitudes are given thus are inserted only approximately in their correct positions. For the Portuguese, theoretical and practical considerations happily coincided in this instance; when the question of sovereignty over the Moluccas arose, it was to their interest to reduce the longitudinal extent of Asia in order to bring the coveted islands within their sphere. This dense rhumb-line mesh was used in navigation as a reference, for reading and marking directions (courses) between places.
Other illustrations include a lion-shaped mountain representing the Sierra Leone mountain range, the Alexandria lighthouse (laid horizontal), the mythical Mountains of the Moon (legendary source of the Nile River) in central Africa, and either the Table Mountain or Drakensberg range in South Africa. 2 (#309), are clearly works of that kind).A  The latter charged him by contract twelve gold ducats (approximately $60), and required about ten months, from December 1501 to October 1502, to execute the work. Because two of Corte-Reala€™s ships returned to Lisbon and brought this news in October 1501, the map could not have been completed before then.A  Therefore, while the maker unfortunately remains unknown, the date is certain. Dom Manoel, King of Portugal, they think is the end of Asia.A  Only the tip of Greenland is displayed, but with a fair amount of accuracy. But, as there can be no doubt as to the intention of the makers of all those maps to represent Cuba (under the name of Ilha yssabella), and as we know the exact latitude of that island, we will adopt its most northern cape, as fixed in modern charts (23A° 11'), for a sort of meridian and touchstone to establish the relative position of all lands and islands in that part of the Lusitano-Germanic maps and globes.
Another interpretation considers yssabella to be Cuba but regards the peninsula as the Asian mainland Columbus and Cabot believed they had reached. It may seem strange that, with so much exploration activity during this period, why no earlier original Portuguese charts has survived (as far as we know).
A meridian was drawn some 960 nautical miles west of the Cape Verde Islands that divided the entire world in two for the purpose of European overseas expansion.
East of India is a large gulf and then a southward-stretching peninsula, a relic of the coasts which Ptolemy believed to enclose the Indian Ocean. Six scale bars graduated in Iberian leagues, with a variable number of sections (or logs), are distributed over the chart's area.
Along the central African coast are the various cross stone markers (padrAµes) erected by Diogo CA?o and Bartolomeu Dias in the 1480s. While yet in Lisbon, the probability is that Cantino interviewed Americus Vespucci, who had just returned to that city from his third voyage, and obtained from him supplementary information, which we assume to be the additional names in a cursive handwriting.
The Tordesillas demarcation line between the Spanish and Portuguese spheres is inserted, and the Portuguese discoveries in the northwest are made to lie just on the Portuguese side of the line. Nor is it impossible that it should have also exhibited in the supposed cut-off part, a prolongation of the coast southward, such as we see in the map of Nicolay de Caveri (#307).
The Newfoundland-Labrador land is shown unmistakably as an island in the maps of the Lusitano-Germanic Group. Near its extremity occurs the name Malaqua and off it the large island of Taporbana [Sumatra]. In north Africa, there is the Montes Claros in the usual place of the Atlas mountains, the legend below on the left reading that this is the land of King Organo, whose king is very noble and very rich, and to the right that this is the land of the King of Nubia, the king of which is continuously making war on Prester John and is a moor and a great enemy of Christians.
It has been generally, though not universally, agreed that political reasons lay behind the placing of the island on both the Cantino and Caveri maps in the Portuguese sphere just beyond, in the eastward sense, the Line of Demarcation established in 1494 by the Treaty of Tordesillas.
Consequently, although Spain claimed most of America, the Portuguese controlled the East Indies and Brazil. The eastern coast of Asia runs away to the northeast, almost featureless but with a number of names, mostly unidentifiable, on the coast and indications of shoals off shore. It may be observed that this eastward location of the island is even more strongly emphasized in the celebrated King-Hamy-Huntington chart (#307.1), an anonymous Italian production of a date slightly later than that of the map of Caveri.



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