The World Portuguese Navigators Knew in 1516

Virtual 1516 Map superimposed on Modern Map

The pink outlines are a present-day elliptical projection from the Xerox Think Tank. This service is unfortunately no longer available.
The brown portions are from a 1516 nautical chart in the Huntington Library

This virtual cut-and-paste shows how the master charts were constructed..Until the nineteenth century maps and charts were pieced together by master-mapmakers using information gathered from different individuals or expeditions. Each brown piece represents information gathered on a separate voyages. On the coast of Brazil there are two separate sections--most likely from the two separate Gonzalo Coelho expeditions. And the three separate pieces from Mossel Bay (South Africa) to north of Mozambique are in all probablity the three missing voyages between Bartholomew Dias 's first voyage (1487) and Vasco da Gama. (1497). (For more on the navigational difficulties of this area, find out about the Agulhas current.)
Since the earth is a slightly stretched-out circle (ellipse), master chart-makers drew the outlines of continents as they would appear on an ellipse.

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