A Mapmaker's Life: Maps of Martin Waldseemüller

"Carta Marina Navigatoria Portugallen Navigationes Atque Tocius Cogniti Orbis Terre Maris..."(a Portuguese Navigational Sea-chart of the known Earth and Oceans ...) 1516. Click here for more information from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation and the Library of Congress, which currently holds this map.

Atlantic Ocean and surrounding lands, from Waldseemüller's edition of Ptolemy, published in 1513. Note the name of the land mass on the left. What famous name has been removed from this map?

"Therefore, studying, to the best of my ability and with the aid of several persons, the books of Ptolemy from a Greek copy, and adding the relations of the four voyages of Amerigo Vespucci, I have prepared for the general use of scholars a map of the whole world - like an introduction, so to speak - both in the solid and projected on the plane" - Waldseemüller, 1507

The Waldseemüller/Ringmann edition of Ptolemy's Geographia was printed at last in 1513 in Strassburg (Strasbourg) by Johann Schott, another former student of Gregor Reisch, who had been at Freiburg when Waldseemüller studied there.

In addition to the two world maps to accompany the Cosmographiæ Introductio and his edition of Ptolemy's Geographiæ, Waldseemüller made another map, in 1516, which is called "Carta Marina." The title continues with the explanation: "A Portuguese Navigational Sea-chart of the known Earth and Oceans." As stated by Peter Whitfield "This map is in fact the first and only printed version of the world charts previously known only to Spanish and Portuguese explorers and their patrons" (Whitfield 1994, 54-55). Waldseemüller’s debt to the Cantino map is clear in his 1516 map. Two years after publishing the great "Carta Marina" Waldseemüller died, leaving a legacy of maps and a book, and the name "America" on maps.