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Portolan Charts

1424 Nautical Chart

Focus of the Chart

The Circle of the 1424 Nautical Chart

What is especially intriguing about the 1424 Nautical Chart is its focus, which is on the western Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

The eastern Mediterranean is not even shown on it.

The center of the circle that forms the grid is located in present-day Spain, showing an area different from the other portolan charts. In this chart a shift has been made toward the Atlantic from the Mediterranean.

This chart, apparently, was meant for mariners who were going from Spain or Portugal beyond the Strait of Gibraltar either southward along the African coast or northward to France, England, Ireland, and beyond.

In most respects the 1424 Nautical Chart is much simpler than either the Roselli or the Canepa. Yet in another sense — its focus on the Atlantic rather than the Mediterranean — the portolan chart is much more complex. It is a new worldview.

Under the magnifying glass: