Mapping a Hemisphere: North and South America

This exhibit featuring eight original maps from the Yana and Marty Davis Map Collection shows some of the earliest and most original attempts at determining the boundaries and the geography of the hemisphere. It is located in the downstairs hallway gallery outside of the map room.

Americae Sive Novus Orbis
Theodore de Bry

This Map by Dutch cartographer de Bry is the first to fairly accurately depict the continents of North and South America. Surrounding the hemispher are his depictions of four important explorers: Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Francisco Pizarro and Ferdinand Magellan. In making this map, de Bry—who never actually travelled to America himself—also incorporated information from Frenchman Jacques Le Moyne, who explored the Florida Peninsula in the 1560s, and John White, who journeyed to the British colony of Roanoke in the late 1580s.

Die Newwen Inselin…
Sebastian Munster

This woodcut, made by German cartographer Sebastian Munster, is the earliest map to show “The New World” surrounded by ocean on both sides. Based partly on the voyage of Florentine explorer Giovanni de Verrazzano, it shows the fictional “Sea of Verrazzano” near what is today the coast of North Carolina. Like all those early explorers, Verrazzano was looking for a water passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and he mistook the Pamlico Sound for the fabled Northwest Passage to the Pacific.

Wesliche Halbkugel
Johann Friedrich Von Stulpnagel

This map, whose title means “Western Hemisphere,” was first printed in 1832 but then this updated version was printed in Gotha, Germany, in 1845, to show the location of the Republic of Texas. This map is from a standard German school atlas of the day, and was printed directly across from a map of the Eastern Hemisphere.