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Sebastian Munster: La Table & description universelle de toute L'Afrique, voire estendue outre les limites de Ptol.

Map: AFR5535
 
Cartographer: Sebastian Munster
Title: La Table & description universelle de toute L'Afrique, voire estendue outre les limites de Ptol.
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 entire continent. It is an example of the French edition of the 'Geographia'. This map is brimming with curious features including the one-eyed giant found by Nigeria and Cameroon, 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 incredibly interesting. The Senegal River runs across West Africa, much as the Niger does today, entering the ocean at what is now the Guinea Gulf. 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, to Calicut in India. This map is accredited by Betz to varient 13 due the incorrect spelling of Hispania in the top left and Gabra fl. missing above Regnum Melli. [AFR5535]