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The History Of USA And The New World Through Its Ancient Maps

Updated on September 8, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years of success in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, and aerospace education for Active USAF Civil Air Patrol.

The Waldseemueller Map, the Carta Marina

At the Library of Congress.
At the Library of Congress. | Source

Introduction: A 500-Year-Old Map

Controversy in the Discovery of America and the Subsequent Founding of the United States of America.

This US History is an incredibly large undertaking. Here is a beginning, with an introduction about the earliest foundations of the USA; namely, the discovery of the American Continents, on which our country's European and African ancestors settled and met the Native North Americans. Incidentally, out Constitutional Republic is based on the ancient democracy of the Iroquois Confederation.

North American history is fascinating. For example:

  • Our Cajuns are the French who came down to Louisiana from Nova Scotia. Some stayed in Canada many years after they were officially expelled.
  • Did you realize that a portion the Cherokee Nation at one time owned Black slaves? - and that the tribe has now ejected the descendants of those people from their nation in 2012?
  • That some nations of the Iroquois Confederation owned black slaves?
  • Blacks in the South sometimes joined the Seminole Nation in Florida.

Old Map Of the New World

Waldseemueller Map

Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci | Source
Martin Waldseemueller
Martin Waldseemueller

How the Waldseemueller Map Was Made

By Chet Van Duzer and John Hessler

  • Crafting the Carta Marina printed in 1516, Waldseemueller abandoned older sources of information for contemporary nautical charts, maps of maritime regions, and coastline mapss that explorers on the sea actually would have used.

Discoveries Of a New World

In April, 2007, German Chancellor Angela Merkel officially presented the United States of America with a copy of a 500-year-old global map from 1507 AD that was the first to show the world a New World called America.

Library of Congress historians stated that the world map, completed by a German-born cleric and cartographer, Martin Waldseemueller, is the first known document to employ the name America. It seems the first to depict the Western Hemisphere as such and the first to show separate oceans in the Pacific and Atlantic.

The New World territories were named for Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. We've heard before, in grammar school, that an Americus Vespucious discovered North America to be a new continent, rather than Christopher Columbus.The first New World explorers, we were told, had been Vikings in far northern North America and John Cabot (Newfoundland).

The old map, printed the year after the death of Christopher Columbus, invoked the written accounts by Italian merchant Amerigo Vespucci. He deduced that land to the west of Europe may be separate and not truly the eastern coast of Asia, as Columbus believed.

Waldseemueller paid homage to Vespucci by adapting his first name to label the new land as separate from Asia. The Waldseemueller global gore map is black print on paper that is 15 inches wide and less than 10 inches high, so it is small.

The controversy is that the word "America," placed over a small sliver of land marked a major paradigm shift in the European world view. The map maker changed his mind and crossed out, or left off of new copies, the name America.

The map was sectioned into a series of shapes called gores, which allow it to be formed into a sphere the size of a softball. This showed that the world is not flat! For the first time, the map projects the Earth in a full 360 degrees of latitude.

James Ford Bell, of the University of Minnesota's James Ford Bell Library, purchased the map in 1954. He did not disclose what he paid, but based on a similar document auctioned in 2005, the Waldseemueller map is valued at over $1 million. Other sources states that map is worth over $10,000,000.

The 12-Section Waldseemueller Map
The 12-Section Waldseemueller Map
The Christopher Columbus Map
The Christopher Columbus Map

Discovery Of a Comprehensive Map

In December 2007, the ancient map went on permanent display at the Library of Congress. Now the world can see the beginnings of America, which is also the beginnings of the United States, Canada, and the other nations of the Western Hemisphere. It also marks the European First Contact with Native Americans and First Nations, as well as Indigenous Peoples in the southern half of the Western Hemisphere.

  • Is this really why he changed mind?
  • Moreover, how did he draw South America so accurately? The shape of South America is correct and the width at key points is within 70 miles of spot on.
  • Why did he put a huge ocean west of America long before it was discovered? Vasco Nunez de Balboa did not reach the Pacific until 1513, and Ferdinand Magellan did not round the southern tip of South America until 1520. Where did the mapmaker get his information?

The old map is built in 12 sheets, purchased from German Prince Johannes Waldburg-Wolfegg for $10 million in 2003.

The dozen sheets are mounted in a 6-foot by 9.5-foot (1.85 meter by 2.95 meter) display case machined from a single block of aluminum. This is an impressive beginning and an impressive record of the discovery a New World.

Ptolemy World Map

The Ptolemy World Map, 150 AD. This early pattern for the 1507 map was scrapped as a resource by the mapmaker.
The Ptolemy World Map, 150 AD. This early pattern for the 1507 map was scrapped as a resource by the mapmaker.

Madrid's Old Map Of the World

Another copy of this ancient map was previously stolen along with several other valuable old maps from Spain, from Madrid's national library. The theft of the maps caused a national outrage that cost the head of the national library, Rosa Regàs, her job amid accusations that the government was not doing enough to protect its national heritage.

César Goméz Rivero, a Uruguayan-born Spanish citizen in South America, sent his lawyer to negotiate immunity in exchange for returning eight of the 19 maps he still had in his possession. Truly, a controversy surrounding the Waldseemueller map and its copies, if still extant, is the center of intrigue surrounding the country of America and her beginnings in the New World.

Chinese Old World Map, circa 1400 AD Or Earlier

Zheng He was a Chinese Muslim eunuch and a famous explorer. He was sent to explore other nations and continents by his country's government, especially in Africa and the Middle East. However, an old map with accurate information for Peru long before European explorers and possibly the Scandinavians encountered the New World.

Author and historian Gavin Menzies feels that the Chinese actually arrived in the Western Hemisphere 40,000 years ago. This fits with the DNA evidence supporting theories that Asians were the ancestors of Native North, South, and Central Americans, these Asians traveling across the Bering Strait in either one or two waves of ingress - approximately 12,000 - 14,000 years ago and 40,000 or more years ago. Zheng He may have been the first Asian to cross over and make a map of the new landscape.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS

Comments and Additions

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      A new book by Chet Van Duzer and John Hessler dscribes exactly how the ancient maps that first named a continent "America" were drawn. It is called "Seeing the World Anew: The Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemueller's 1507 & 1516 World Maps."

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      7 years ago from Pune, India

      Interesting Hub. It is useful both for student of American history and general readers. Thank you for sharing the information.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      7 years ago from Northeastern United States

      You are so right.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks very much for looking at the links! I think they can help students get a start on research.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      7 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Wow, Patty! I told you on my lunch break today I was going through your "Make More Money" hub link by link. I am checking out your portfolio hubs. Great, thorough research and presentation. Voted up and interesting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      You always write such fascinating hubs! I don't know how you do it! Another masterpiece!



    • wt1s3rv3r profile image


      9 years ago

      Good POst!

    • marisuewrites profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      I had no idea maps were so valuable and am amazed at the personal work, the ancient science, and motivation even inspiration that went into their formation! Wow, Patti, and thanks for such great research!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      thanks love the maps

    • Nefarious Thug profile image

      Nefarious Thug 

      11 years ago

      Good stuff!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thank you very much for that infomration!

      I'll try the university library and the several used and antique bookstores near there. This will be a fascinating read. Maybe you can write a Hub on it, if you have time.

      Best wishes!


    • J D Murrah profile image

      J D Murrah 

      11 years ago from Refugee from Shoreacres, Texas

      The book is by Thomas Crawford Johnson. It was originally published in 1913 by James Nibet & Co. of London. It was reprinted by St. THomas Press in 1965. I looked for an ISBN, but did not that or a Library of Congress number in my copy.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thank you for contributing that information, JD Murrah. I will look for that book. I had brieifly heard a discussion of this possibility, but did not realize that there was a book. This is useful info.

    • J D Murrah profile image

      J D Murrah 

      11 years ago from Refugee from Shoreacres, Texas

      Several months ago, I picked up a book that addressed the possibility of the Phonecians travelling to North America. The book was originally published by the press at St. Thomas University in Houston. It is truly staggering to consider the role of ancient seafarers and cartographers in relation to the knowledge of North America.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks for all the very nice encouraging comments. It's like putting together a puzzle or figuring a logic problem when I delve into history and cultures. Much fun!

    • vishenda profile image


      12 years ago from leesburg VA

      your hubs are interesting ^__^

      I like going thru each of them

    • manoharv2001 profile image


      12 years ago from Bangalore - 560097, Karnataka, India


    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Wow! A really comprehensive treatment of our early history. I'll have to take a week off just to peruse all this. Wonderful work.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thank you soyelude, Prince Maak and MrMarmalade -- I appreciate the high quality of Requests made on Hub Pages!

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      12 years ago from Sydney

      Great knowledge on your chosen subject.

      Prolific hubber

      Thank you

    • Prince Maak profile image

      Prince Maak 

      12 years ago from Just Above the EARTH and below the SKY

      Hello Patty, I appreciate u`er work.

      Prince. M.A.A.K

    • soyelude profile image


      12 years ago from Lagos - Nigeria

      Wow this is pretty loaded stuff on American history. Good job Patty for this painstaking effort.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks Z! IN this series, I will likely use many good links, rather than tell the whole story myself. It will be a good mix of commentary and links, though. Videos and old photos... much fun!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      12 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Patty! You definitely find the most interesting things to write about. As usual a remarkebly great HUB

      regards Zsuzsy


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