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Sebastian Munster: Africa/Libya/Morenland/mit allen Kunigreichen so zu unsern zeiten darin gefunden werden

Map: AFR5535
 
Cartographer: Sebastian Munster
Title: Africa/Libya/Morenland/mit allen Kunigreichen so zu unsern zeiten darin gefunden werden
Date: 1578
Published: Basel
Width: 14 inches / 36 cm
Height: 10 inches / 26 cm
Map ref: AFR5535
Description:
This seminal and hugely influential woodcut of Africa is the earliest, readily available, map of the continent. This map is brimming with curious features including the one-eyed giant in Nigeria, representing the mythical tribe of the “Monoculi”. Several kingdoms are also noted, including that of the legendary Prester John, Nubia, the land of gold, and “Meroë” where one would find the mythical tombs of the Nubian kings.

The geography, still largely based on ancient sources, is inaccurate but intriguing. The Senegal River runs across West Africa, much as the Niger does today, entering the ocean at what is now the Gulf of Guinea. This loop of river was not represented again in continental maps of Africa for nearly 200 years. The source of the Nile consists of two lakes to the south, fed by ‘The Mountains of the Moon’.

The text in the large cartouche is a rough guide for sailors travelling around Africa from the Iberian Peninsula, specifically the Roman province of Lusitania (Portugal), to Calicut in India. This map can be identified as varient 15 due to the incorrect spelling of "Regnum Melli" in West Africa. This is the only variant to drop the 'LI' from 'MELLI' and the 'M' from 'Regnum'.

[Betz (R.L.): The Mapping of Africa 3 (Variant 15)] [AFR5535]