Extraordinary full color example of Waldseemuller's map of 1513, the earliest obtainable map to focus on America.
The Waldseemuller was the first printed atlas map to focus on the New World. Waldseemuller's map is preceded only by the small map of the Spanish Main by Peter Martyr in Seville, 1511 (12 surviving examples known) and Johannes Stobncza's map of 1512 (3 surviving examples).
The map shows a continuous coastline between North and South America, with the massive east-west coastline of South America being the map's single largest feature, extending south to approximately the Rio de la Plata lies. In the Caribbean, the islands of Cuba (named Isabella, after Queen Isabella of Spain), Hispaniola (Spagnolla), and Puerto Rico (Boriguem) are shown, along with numberous other islands.
Continuing north, North America is plotted to beyond the mouth of the St. Lawrence; at the correct latitude of the St. Lawrence there is a river named Caninor, quite possibly the St. Lawrence. This region had almost certainly been already explored by various Bristol expeditions. In all, about 20 place names are shown on the North American Coastline, drawn primarily from Portugese sources, including the Cantino Portolano World Map of 1502 and the Caveri World Map of 1505 ca.
The representations of Florida pre-dates any recorded European contact, as does the mapping of the Gulf of Mexico prior Pineda's voyage of 1519, suggesting Waldseemuller had access to the reports of unrecorded voyages prior to 1513. The inscription in South America notes that the land and adjacent island were discovered by Columbus, under the authority of the King of Castille. Waldseemuller had previously credited Amerigo Vespucci with the discovery of America. This note was apparently an attempt to correct this error (albeit unsuccessful when it came to the naming of the continent).
In the text to his 1513 edition of Ptolemy, Waldseemuller refers to the Admiral as the source of the map. While it had for many years been assumed that "the Admiral" was a reference to Columbus, it is now believed that the reference is to Caveri's map of 1505. A copy of the Caveri exists in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
Martin Waldseemüller (c. 1475-1520) was a sixteenth-century cosmographer best known for his 1507 world map in twelve sheets, the earliest surviving map to include the name “America.” He was an influential mapmaker during his time whose work affected many of his contemporaries and successors. Waldseemüller was born near Freiburg, in what is now northern Germany. His family moved to Freiburg proper when he was young and he attended university in the city beginning in 1490.
Waldseemüller gathered information about the New World discoveries and geography from St.-Dié des Vosges in Lorraine, where he was a professor of cosmography under the patronage of René II, Duke of Lorraine. He was a member of an intellectual circle who produced work from the St.-Dié Press. However, the press failed when the Duke died, and Waldseemüller moved to Strasbourg.
He is best known for the 1507 map and another world projection, the Carta Marina published in 1516. He also published an edition of Ptolemy in 1513, in collaboration with Johann Schott, a friend from Freiburg and St.-Dié. Besides his innovative use of the toponym “America”, Waldseemüller was the first to create such a large printed world map, the author of the earliest known printed globe gores, the first to create a published collection of modern maps, and one of the first to create maps from ground measurements. He was knowledgeable in surveying methods and designed a quadrant and other instruments. He returned to St.-Dié late in life as canon, although he continued to return to Strasbourg for work and for carnival. He died in St.-Dié in 1520.
Waldseemuller is generally credited with having named the continent of America, based upon the then current belief that Amerigo Vespucci had been the first modern explorer to reach the continent of America in 1497, during the first of four expeditions to America which were then credited to Vespucci between 1497 and 1504. The report which described the 1497 expedition is now generally believed to be a forgery. Later in his career, Waldseemüller elected not to use the toponym for the continents, preferring to leave them unnamed. However, the name had been taken up by his contemporaries, in large part due to the influential nature of Waldseemüller’s earlier works.