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Portolan Charts

Unsolved Mysteries of the Portolans

William H. Babcock's Legendary Islands

In 1922 William H. Babcock’s Legendary Islands of the Atlantic was published by the American Geographical Society. Babcock begins his consideration of the Atlantic islands with Atlantis, the island which Plato described in 400 B.C. as having been destroyed nine-thousand years earlier, and covers all the "mythical" islands to the end of the fifteenth century. Babcock did not have access to the 1424 Nautical Chart. Based on his studies of other portolan charts and maps he made the identifications that follow: Antilia (Cuba), Reylla (Jamaica?), Salvagio or Santanaxio (Florida). These places are all on the 1424 Nautical Chart. Babcock’s work is interesting, but it is generally agreed among scholars that he tried to do too much without a thorough study of the sources. His arguments find scant acceptance today.

Click on the thumbnails below to see the island details.