vendredi 27 juillet 2007

Hispaniola (South is up)

Chart in “De orbe novo decades” by Pietro Martire d’Anghiera

At the Biblioteca Universitaria, Bologna.

The book is rare for the presence of this hand made map, which is folded in three, as to preserve the written face. At the back of it a note says the book was the property of the canon Giovanni Bissaiga.

Author and date are controversial: traditionally the chart is attributed to Bartolomeo Colombo, skilled cartographer who lived in the island before 1509. According to some scholars (Frati), the chart was made for the 1516 edition of the book, to be presented to some noble person. Others attribute the chart to Andrés de Morales, a Spanish pilot, about 1508 or 1509, on the score of the fact that there are many islets and rocks, that only and experienced seaman would have been able to make and interested in making. The many towns are often just indicated by a church, because colonisation and discovery were accompanied by evangelisation ; there are many toponyms, ofter of local source.

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