Asian Geographical Features Misplaced South of the Equator on Sixteenth-century Maps

William Richardson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Some non-Iberian late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century cartographers inserted on their maps graphic representations of Asian places mentioned by such authorities as Ptolemy and Marco Polo, even though they had no real idea of their actual size, shape or location. This article explains in detail how textual errors in their sources, misconceptions, and careless transcriptions of place-names led to the appearance of some in the southern hemisphere. It also shows how one feature, correctly depicted by the Portuguese, was unrecognized by the French, and speculatively incorporated by them on world maps south of Indonesia. Local, native place-names, phonetically recorded by the Portuguese, were misunderstood and provided with imaginative interpretations by the Dieppe cartographers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)33-65
    Number of pages33
    JournalTerrae Incognitae: the journal for the history of discoveries
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Cattigara
    • Champa
    • Condur and sondur
    • Jave la grande
    • Toponymy
    • Vietnam


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