21 April 2007

Five Hundred American Years - April 25, 2007


"Thus in the beginning all the world was America, and more so than that is now; for no such thing as money was any where known."

This coming Wednesday will mark the 500th anniversary of the first use of the name "America", on a map of the world.

We can surmise how the process of making maps, in olden days, was a meticulous process, yet with no advanced scientific measuring capabilities, also an alchemistic process. Drawings based on older maps, sketches, perhaps, of the coastlines, added necessary information to update the known world.

But what possessed Martin Waldseemüller to create a name for continents he didn't know?

How did this happen?

Remember Amerigo Vespucci, the noted Italian explorer? While Columbus and others were exploring the northern hemisphere, Vespucci's two voyages had explored the southern hemisphere, extending Western Man's knowledge
towards the continental nature of these 'brave new lands'...

Well, in the northeastern region of France, in the Vosges region, Waldseemüller began his work, basing his cartographic skills on Amerigo's written accounts.

This region notably was in the front lines for World Wars One and Two, as you can see from the photo below. It is located north of Basel, Switzerland, en route towards Strasbourg, but not far away from ZENcentral.

Saint Dié, is the village where Waldseemüller worked, and some Americans living in France, Switzerland and across Europe will be on pilgrimage this week, towards this hallowed village, to 'breath the air' that Waldseemüller enjoyed, as he worked fastidiously to produce his opus cartographicus.

For history's sake, here's a photo of Saint Dié after the 'Liberation' showing the destructive force of conquest over the Nazis: it reminds ZENmud of Baghdad, these days...

Below, is the map in two variations.

Note that the original map was produced in the twelve panels as seen here - the word America is said to be printed in the lowest-left panel. Does this mean 'America' was originally thought to be 'South America' as we call that continent today?

Above, the map as acquired by the United States' Library of Congress.

Below, the
'unified' map.

Enjoy an 'electronic stroll' through time: the history of an unknown land, which offered John Locke a unique reflection in the 17th century: his Second Treatise on Civil Government...

Thus in the beginning all the world was America, and more so than that is now; for no such thing as money was any where known."


ç*”*”*”*ç*””* ZENmud *””*ç*”*”*””*ç

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