The Known World in 1540

What is this?

This is a very old map of the world. It’s the type of map that early explorers who were coming to the New World would use. Would you like to navigate across the ocean with a map like this?

Things to notice!

Longitude and latitude - These lines helped explorers find their way to new places.

Latin words - All the words on this map are in Latin. At the time this map was made Latin was considered the universal language. The words TYPUS UNIVERSILUS means World Map.

Serpents - Notice the serpents in the water. People in the 1500s viewed the oceans as mysterious and dangerous.

Wind - Do you see the figures in the sky blowing wind? Explorers used knowledge of wind directions to help navigate across the oceans.

Who made it?

This map was made over 400 years ago by a German mapmaker name Sebastian Muenster. He was born in 1492, the year Columbus came to America, and died in 1552.

How was it made?

This map is a "woodcut." Muenster. carved the lines and figures into a piece of wood and then printed the images on paper.