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Panel 1

Beyond Atlas

This panel shows the Northern New World, Cuba (Isabella Insula) and Hispaniola (Spagnolla Insula). The margins of the outer Panels are embellished with beautiful cartouches and adorned with figures of wind and sea (Zephir, Chor).

Waldseemuller named the landmass "Terra Ulteri Incognita" - unknown distant land. This would represent today's north American continent and was of course, unexlored by either Columbus or Vespucci. The word Parias is displayed and this is thought to be the name that Columbus picked up from local inhabitants for the lower part of the continent.

It is interesting that Waldseemuller portrayed the western coastline as mountainous, since niether Columbus nor Vespucci could have been to or seen these places.

A prominent feature of this panel is the break between the northern and southern continents. During his first voyages to the New World, Columbus was convinced that he could find a passage through to India. He thought he had already reached the island of Zipanga (Japan) as marked on Ptolemy's map and what lay ahead would be India. Hence he named the inhabitants of the new world - "Indians". The map was a work in progress for a number of years since wood cut technology takes time. As new information was relayed back to the cloisters at St. Die-des-Vosges, Waldseemuller would have to adjust his art. After Columbus's third voyage he added an Inset to the map (Panels 3 and 4) with the latest information returning from the front. The gap was closed.

The Latin text in translation reads:
Many have regarded as an invention the words of a famous poet1 that "beyond the stars lies a land, beyond the path of the year and the sun, where Atlas, who supports the heavens, revolves on his shoulders the axis of the world, set with gleaming stars", but now finally it proves clearly to be true. For there is a land, discovered by Columbus, a captain of the King of Castile, and by Americus Vespucius, both men of very great ability, which, though in great part lies beneath "the path of the year and of the sun" and between the tropics, nevertheless extends about 19 degrees beyond the Tropic of Capricorn toward the Antarctic Pole, "beyond the path of the year and the sun". Here a greater amount of gold has been found than of any other metal.

Note: The famous poet was Virgil.

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1 - Beyond The Stars2 - Ptolemy3 - Vespucci4 - Cathay
5 - Southern New World6 - Spice Trade7 - The Silk Road8 - Catigara
9 - America10 - South of Africa11 - Africa to India12 - Nutmeg and Cloves

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