The Naming of AmericaMartin Waldseemüller’s 1507 World Map and the Cosmographiae Introductio
John W. Hessler
Published by GILES in association with The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C
Published — February 2008 (UK and USA)
Dimensions — 128 pages, 191mm x 229mm (7 ½ in. x 9 in.), landscape
Illustrations — 22 colour illustrations
Format — Hardback
ISBN — 978-1-904832-49-2
Book Details (pdf) — Naming_of_America_AI.pdf
Press Release — Putting America on the Map
“Hessler’s nuanced translation brings to life this dynamic period of cartographic history…[and] the presentation, graphic aesthetic and accessibility of the text will make this a favourite for general readers, as well, and should be on the wish list of everyone interested in early American history and cartography” Marguerite Ragnow, Imago Mundi
“Both a scholarly treatise and a book anyone would purchase to remember the cornerstone map” Peter J. Porrazzo, The Portolan, Journal of the Washington Map Society
“A scholarly affair, impeccably printed” Elinor Teele, California Literary Review
“Hessler provides the first published translation of the map’s text blocks” Washington Post
About the Book
This new book features a facsimile of the 1507 World Map by Martin Waldseemüller – the first map ever to display the name America – and tells the fascinating story behind its creation in 16th-century France and rediscovery 300 years later in the library of Wolfegg Castle, Germany, in 1901. It also includes a completely new translation and commentary to Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann’s seminal cartographic text, the Cosmographiae Introductio, which originally accompanied the World Map.
John Hessler considers answers to some of the key questions raised by the map’s representation of the New World, including “How was it possible for a small group of cartographers to have produced a view of the world so radical for its time and so close to the one we recognize today?”; and “What evidence did they possess to show the existence of the Pacific Ocean when neither Vasco Nûnez de Balboa nor Ferdinand Magellan had yet reached it?”. There are no easy answers, and yet, as this fascinating book reveals, this group of unknowns created some of the most important maps in the history of cartography, and afford us a glimpse into an age when accepted scientific and geographic principles fell away, spawning the birth of modernity.
About the Author(s)
John W. Hessler is Senior Cartographic Librarian in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society he is the recent recipient of a J. L Heiberg Research and Exploration Fellowship for his work on the physical remains of Roman Centuriation and in 2010 was awarded a J.S. Best Fellowship from the American Geographical Society. He is currently a Scholar in Residence at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, where he is researching the Paul Krueger Archive in the Law Library.