da Vinci Globe Gores

Title: da Vinci Globe Gores
Date: 1514
Author: Leonardo da Vinci

"Description: In an 1864 article titled Leonardo, da Vinci, 1452-1519, Memoir on a mappemonde by Leonardo da Vinci, being the earliest map hitherto known containing the name of America: now in the royal collection at Windsor, Richard Henry Major analyzed this unusual set of eight globe gores found in the Royal Collections of Windsor Castle and attributed them to none other than Leonardo da Vinci, but with very little more reason for the assignment than the fact that they were found in a collection of papers in the handwriting of that famous artist. The gores are drawn as equilateral triangles, each representing one eighth of the earth’s surface, not as bi-angles, which is the usual form for early globe gores. Major described the map as the oldest known on which the name Americaappears, giving as the probable date of construction the year 1514, which date is thought by Henry Harrisse to be five or six years too early. Such a distinction as was claimed for the record of the name America by Major, being likewise assigned at various times to other early maps, has at last been definitely fixed as belonging to the world map of Waldseemüller of 1507 (#310). The outlines of the New World bear a resemblance to those found in the Lenox and the Jagellonicusglobes (#314). The North American region is represented by two islands, one of which bears the name Bacalar, the other Terra Florida. South America, a large island, has conspicuously inscribed the name America, together with a few prominent coast names. These gores are chiefly of interest by reason of their peculiar form."

"The points of distinct priority which he hoped to establish are: first that it is the earliest map yet made known to the world on which the name of America stands inscribed; secondly that it is the earliest known map on which the severance of the western coasts of America from their previously supposed continuity with Asia is recognized; thirdly that it is the only map, as yet known, which contains an indication of the early fancied existence of a great southern continent anterior to the discovery of Magellan’s Straits, after which, though at some distance of time, that supposition was assumed to be a reality, and laid down upon maps as an indefinite continuation of the then discovered land of Tierra del Fuego."
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