The Universalis Cosmographia, a 1507 cartographic exploration of the known world, depicted the New World as two entirely separate continents. This was quite a revolutionary stance on the early days of the Age of Discovery: many people still believed that the New World was connected to Asia. Although we now know that North and South America are a single continent, this ambitious map by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller is rightfully revered for giving America its name.
The wide wall map was originally printed in a gorgeous tome of cartographic illustrations and gores (maps designed to be cut out and pasted to a sphere to make a globe), now known as the Schöner Sammelband, or “beautiful miscellany." Compiled in the early 16th century, the book held a handful of then-contemporary maps between its wooden covers.
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