Thursday, March 8, 2012


Cartography is an integral part of our history since more than 8000 years. From cave paintings to ancient maps of the Old World, through the Age of Exploration, and on into the 21st century, people have made and used maps. Here you can see a collection of antique world maps describing the known world in their time and at their state of knowledge.

T - O Map

T-O map (orbis terrae, orb or circle of the earth), is a type of mediaval world map and the earliest known representations of this sort is attributed to Beatur of Liébana, an 8th century Spanish monk. The T is the Mediterranean, dividing the three continents, Asia, Europe and Africa, and the O is the encircling Ocean. Jerusalem was generally assumed to lie at the center of the circle. The T-O map remained a common representation since at least the 7th century.

World Map 19th Century

Description: Japanese world map from a unknown author dated to 1875, the 8th year of the Emperor's Meiji's reign.

Description: Charles Desilver's world map, published in his New Universal Atlas 1856/USA.

Description: World map made by the English cartographer, engraver and publisher Aaron Arrowsmith in 1812

Description: Map of the world centered on America prepared by the American altlas publisher Joseph Hutchins Colton in 1852.

Description: Japanese world map in two hemispheres dating to 1848 by Shincho Kurihara and Heibe Chojiya.

Description: Political world map illustrated by the English artist Walter Crane showing the extent of the British Empire in 1886.

Description: Dutch world map from Otto Petri published in 1860.


World Map 18th Century

Description: World map created by the German or Dutch cartographer Herman(n) Moll in 1709.

Description: World map (1745) from an unknown author.

Description: World map from the French cartographer Nicolas de Fer, published in 1722.

Description: The so-called "Zheng He map" is a Chinese world map, probably produced in 1763 at the base of Zheng He's voyages.

Description: Engraved world map by the German cartographer Leonhard Euler first published 1753 in his school atlas "Geographischer Atlas".

Description: World map with the trade winds from the German or Dutch cartographer Herman(n) Moll first published in England 1719. Picture from Atlas Minor, 3rd edition, London 1736.

Description: World map from the German geographer and cartographer Johann Baptist Homann, published in Nürnberg 1707.

Description: World map made by the French geographer Guillermo Delisle in 1707.

Description: World map of the Turkish encyclopedist Ibrahim Hakki Erzurumi published in 1756.

Description: World map published by Vasily Kipriynov at the beginnung of the 18th century.


World Map 17th Century

Description: Foldable map of the world, contained in "The world encompassed by Sir Francis Drake...", London 1628.

Description: Decorative maps of the world from the French cartographers Nicholas Sanson and Alexis Hubert Jaillot published in 1691.

Description: Exceptional map of the world made in 1650 by the Dutch publisher Jan Jansson (Johannes Janssonius). Such maps, showing comtemporary geopraphy with ancient place names, were popular in the post-renaissance period.

Description: World map by the Dutch-German cartographer Andreas Cellarius published in 1661.

Description: A New And Accurat Map Of The World published by the Belgian engraver Peter van den Keere in 1646.

Description: World map made by the Dutch cartographer Joan Blaeu in 1664.

Description: Novissima Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula made by the Dutch timber merchant Joannes de Ram, first published in 1683.

Description: World map from 1666 by Peter Goos, a Dutch cartographer, engraver and bookseller.


Description: World map Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica Ac Hydrographica Tabula Autore made by the Dutch cartographer Claes Janszoon Visscher in the 17th century, published in 1652.


Description: World map of Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612) a Flemish artist, engraver and cartographer who worked at the base of the Mercator projection. The map is part of an atlas published in 1630.

Description: Ancient world map made by the Dutch cartographer Frederik de Wit in 1662, during the Golden Age of Dutch history (1584-1702) when Dutch trade, science and art were among the most acclaimed in the world.

Description: Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis made in 1606 by the Dutch cartographer Willem Janszoon Blaeu, who worked together with his son Joan Blaeu. First published in 1635 in their atlas Theatrum orbis terrarum.

Description: World map published in 1627 by the German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer Johannes Kepler.

Description: World map created in 1689 by the Dutch cartographer Gerrit van Schagen.


World Map 16th Century

Description: World map published in 1589 by the Dutch cartographer and engraver Gerard de Jode.

Description: World map of the Portuguese cartographer Domingo Teixeira drawn in 1573 with the sea routes of Vasco da Gama and Hernando de Magallanes. Moreover the map shows the the meridian of Tordesillas, which devided the new discovered lands between Spain and Portugal.

Description: World map made by the French mapmaker Guillaume Brouscon in 1543.

Description: "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" (Theatre of the World) made by the Flemish cartographer and geographer Abraham Ortelius in 1570, who is generally recognised as the creator of the first modern atlas.

Description: World map made by Laurent Fries, woodcut 1522.

Description: The Caverio Map (also called Caveri Map or Canerio Map) is a world map drawn by the Genoese cartographer Nicolay de Caveri, circa 1505.

Description: Orbis Terrarum published by the Dutch astronomer, cartographer and clergyman Petrus Plancius in 1594.

Description: Map of the world 1552 by the Siebenbuerger Saxon humanist and Protestant Reformer Johannes Honterus.

Description: "Orbis Terrarum" from the Dutch astronomer, cartographer and clergyman Petrus Plancius, published in 1590.

Description: The "Dieppe maps" are several maps produced in the school of cartographers in Dieppe, France during the 16th century as this world map made by the Scottish cartographer Johne Rotz, published 1542 in the Boke of Idrography.

Description: "A Chart of the World on Mercator's Projection", also known as the Wright–Molyneux Map. This Map is the first world map produced in England and based on the projection of the English mathematician and cartographer Edward Wright.

Description: World map of the Dutch explorer, cartographer, astronomer and painter Johannes Ruysch published in 1507. Ruysch's work is the second oldest known printed map showing the New World.


Description: World maps of the Northern and Southern hemisphere published in 1593 by the Dutch cartographer and engraver Gerard de Jode.

Description: World map from the Italian captain and cartographer Antonio Millo, published between 1582-1584.

Description: World map from the Italian cartographer Battista Agnese published in the Portolan Atlas 1544. The map shows the route Magellan took around the world and the route from Cadiz/Spain to Peru.


Description: World map of Diego de Ribero made in 1529. Ribero was a Spanish cartographer of Portuguese origin, who worked for Charles V at the Casa de Contratación in Seville. His map is considered as the first scientific world map based on empiric latitude observations. It delineates precisely the coasts of North, South and Central America. Neither Australia nor the Antartica appear.

Description: World map of Pietro Coppo (1470-1555) from Venice/Italy, published in 1520.

Description: Waldseemüller map from 1507. The carthographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann from southern Germany collected map data over several years, including about the most recent discoveries, to realize this world map. They incorporated the first time in history the name America on a map.

Description: The Cantino planisphere is the earliest surviving map showing the new Portuguese discoveries in the world, including a fragmentary record of the Brazilian coast. The antique map is named after the Italian Alberto Cantino, who smuggled it from Portugal to Italy in 1502.

Description: World Map created by the Flemish cartographer Rumold Mercator in 1587, son of the famous cartographer Gerardus Mercator, who developed the modern projection of the world.