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28 votes

When the Portuguese began the exploration of the West African Coast, did they believe the Indian Ocean was an enclosed sea?

What a wonderful question! Dom Henrique is one of the chief characters of this story, and that means we need to explore him more than the general Portuguese knowledge. These explorations as a whole ...
gktscrk's user avatar
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21 votes
Accepted

Who are these red flag worshipers from these early maps?

See Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus / auctore Olao Magno ... Magnus, Olaus, 1490-1558 (click here for full Hathi Trust catalog entry for the 1562 edition) or here for Wikipedia's description. ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 5,922
16 votes
Accepted

What was an upper and a lower region?

Typically it refers to a river, and "lower" is down-river (closer to the coast), while "upper" is up-river (further inland). This is because the land at the mouth of a river is lower (in altitude) ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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14 votes
Accepted

When would the Japanese have been able to recognize their archipelago?

Realistically speaking a reasonably knowledgeable Japanese person would've been able to spot Japan on a world map, based on the islands' relative position to Korea and China. This is probably true ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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12 votes
Accepted

What was the first map of Antarctica having a shape based on real evidence?

General answer: it will probably depend what you define as "the shape". Ultimately, once landfall was made on opposite coasts (1820-1840), and land was proven to be there, it was a matter of looking ...
Andrew is gone's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Is this costume plate from Theatrum Orbis Terrarum correctly colored?

As far as I call tell, unless the spiritual electors wore their clerical vestaments, and they do not in those images, their elector's robes and those of the secular electors should have been the same ...
MAGolding's user avatar
  • 19.3k
9 votes

How to build historical maps?

For me, this is not a question of "where is a tool to do cartography for me" but rather "how do I build a map that shows what I want to show". The first is something that doesn't exist, at least in a ...
gktscrk's user avatar
  • 10.8k
8 votes

When the Portuguese began the exploration of the West African Coast, did they believe the Indian Ocean was an enclosed sea?

gktscrk answers the question directly but, although it is true that there were legends and fears, and simple minded sailors, it is absolutely false that the elite did not expect to find anything ...
Luiz's user avatar
  • 4,448
7 votes

What was an upper and a lower region?

"Upper" and "lower" refer to highlands and lowlands of a country, usually defined by one (or more) rivers. Upper Egypt refers to the plateaus/highlands next to Sudan and Ethiopia, near the sources of ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 105k
7 votes

How to build historical maps?

No, there is no universal, online tool for making arbitrary historical maps. As comments showed, certain tools can offer some insight into matters of historical geography, but publications that need ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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7 votes
Accepted

What sort of maps did the ancient Greeks make and distribute?

Just because nothing survives of early cartographic works does not mean they did not exist. In History we often have to gather information from earlier historical writings, discussing earlier works ...
justCal's user avatar
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6 votes
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Who was the first Renaissance cartographer to include rich content in their maps that went beyond spatial points, borders, and location names?

(Update) Recently I encountered some single edition maps, and one map and cartographer in particular that seems to better exemplify your question. The cartographer would be Olaus Magnus, and his map ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 39.7k
6 votes

What was the first map of Antarctica having a shape based on real evidence?

A very interesting question, as it turns out. The coast of Antarctica wasn't definitively sighted until about 1820, so no globe until then would have featured it. I found this pocket globe made by ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
6 votes

Who are these red flag worshipers from these early maps?

The map explicitly says: rubrum pannum pertica suspensum adorant (they adore a red cloth hanging from a pole) And this guy states that these vignettes come from Marco Polo (a good guess when seeing ...
Luiz's user avatar
  • 4,448
5 votes

What sort of maps did the ancient Greeks make and distribute?

I suppose no ancient Greek maps or their descriptions survive to answer this question. The earliest maps (and a mathematical theory of making them) that we know were made by Ptolemy, who was not ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.9k
5 votes

What was an upper and a lower region?

It's normally to do with the relative positions up- or down-river. For example, Upper Egypt is up-river on the River Nile, relative to Lower Egypt Lower Austria derives its name from its downriver ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
5 votes

Did imperialist propaganda inflate map size?

There are a number of possibilities here, though none fully meet your criteria. Aside from the Mercator distortion mentioned by SJuan76 in his comment, you may be thinking of the McDonald Gill ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
4 votes

When did the Portuguese decide to extend their West African exploration to finding a sea passage to India?

I think there are serious problems with this question. Yet, I've decided to draft an answer, though not as detailed as I did to the related question here. The real problem here lies in defining what ...
gktscrk's user avatar
  • 10.8k
4 votes

When did military leaders in the field start to put units or ships as tokens onto a map and to move them around?

The Prussian army first developed the concept of kriegsspiel - German for war game - early in the 19th century. In 1812, Prussian nobleman George Leopold von Reisswitz improved the earlier wargame ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
3 votes

Who is 'Ebinichibel' mentioned in the Borgia Map?

John Block Friedman in The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought, Syracuse 2020, p.67 (via google books) treats it as a fictional name (in a league with stuff from the Alexander romance) and ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 9,217
3 votes

When did the Portuguese decide to extend their West African exploration to finding a sea passage to India?

gktsck answer shows that the general intent to reach India was already there. But to understand how the general intent become a tangible aim, note that the path to India did not go through today's ...
Luiz's user avatar
  • 4,448
3 votes

How were maps drawn and printed in the late 19th-early 20th centuries?

There is no much difference between reproducing maps and other pictures. Since the end of 19th century maps (and other pictures) were photo-reproduced. Before that time they were engraved. The ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.9k
2 votes

What sort of maps did the ancient Greeks make and distribute?

Look into Alexandre Magnus, thanks to Aristotle, cartographers, botanists, zoologists, geologists etc. accompanied the King and his Army as they conquered the world! However, from Macedon to the ...
190Five's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote

Do maps dating back to 1489/90 show Ascension and St Helena even though these islands were supposedly only discovered in 1501 and 1502 respectively?

Not an answer, just a reference which may open other questions, but too long for comment. I have a book on old maps, and was intrigued about Columbus map, which as you say in the question, shows ...
Luiz's user avatar
  • 4,448
1 vote

Do maps dating back to 1489/90 show Ascension and St Helena even though these islands were supposedly only discovered in 1501 and 1502 respectively?

Partial answer, focus on Martellus map and its meaining: First, the legend seemingly attached to the islands in the Martellus map is not for them but for the continent: The world map is of particular ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
1 vote

When the Portuguese began the exploration of the West African Coast, did they believe the Indian Ocean was an enclosed sea?

Definitely not a straight answer but relevant nonetheless: There is (arguably weak or solid, depending on what certain cultural priors you adopt) circumstantial evidence for an historical lighthouse ...
lurscher's user avatar
  • 111

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