Hot answers tagged cartography
The convention was established by Ptolemy (AD 90 – c. AD 168) in his main work, Geography. The following is a 15th century reconstruction of Ptolemy's world map: It's an arbitrary decision, and several reversed maps exist. There are also maps that don't follow a standard orientation, some examples are T and O maps, polar maps, and Dymaxion/Fuller maps. ...
So, in researching the link from sbi, I think he's got one piece of the puzzle, but there seem to be a few more. Juan de Fuca (the same guy from whom the straits around Vancouver Island / the Seattle area are named), had claimed to have found a Northwest Passage Sailors from the south had also found the Gulf of Baja California, and frankly its big - so big ...
http://www.euratlas.net/history/europe/index.html This is by far the best map website, it has maps from 1AD to 2000AD. http://www.euratlas.net/antique/cartography/index.html
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