Waldseemüller map


The “Waldseemüller map“, first published in 1507, actually contains two maps: the main map and an inset map showing the eastern and western hemispheres. The two maps differ in that in the main map, North and South America are not joined together.

The map is remarkable for several reasons:

1. At the time it was published, it was still believed that America and Asia formed a single land-mass: the first recorded sighting of the Pacific by a European did not take place until 1512 or 1513 (see Vasco Núñez de Balboa).

Martin Waldseemüller probably included an ocean to the west of the Americas as a result of the influence of Mundus Novus, a book which is attributed to Amerigo Vespucci and which proposed that America was a new continent.

2. The map was one of the first to depict latitude and longitude of the entire globe precisely — it uses a modified Ptolemaic projection.

3. It is the first map known to have used the name “America”.

A 2,250 by 1,254 pixel version is available

Copyright status

Public license
This image is in the public domain in the United States because it is nothing more than a slavish copying of a public-domain work and thus is not considered creative (see Bridgeman v. Corel). This logic may or may not apply in other nations. See elsewhere on this page for details about why the underlying work is in the public domain.



Library of Congress American Memory.

Bibliographic record: [1]