Books: Map of History

The simple line map of the world, sketched in faded brownish ink on a single small (about 11 in. by 16 in.) sheet of patched and worm-eaten vellum seems humdrum. In reality, it is by far the most important cartographic discovery of this century. It is the first map (see below) ever found that shows any part of the Western Hemisphere before the voyage of Columbus.

Drawn about 1440, probably by a monk in a Swiss scriptorium, the map's startling features are a strikingly accurate delineation of Greenland in the upper left-hand corner and...

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