America’s Birth Certificate: The Oldest Globular World Map: c. 1507
Stefaan Missinne
Art and Globe Expert, Vienna, Austria.
DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2015.43019   PDF    HTML     6,563 Downloads   9,623 Views   Citations


In 2012, a woodcut print for a c. 11 centimeter globe was discovered in an ancient volume in the University Library in Munich. This pivotal 1 million US$ globular world map, which only differs marginally from four other extant woodcut copies, attracted worldwide media attention. This discovery ignited the search for the date and the origin of an enigma in the form of an intricate secretive small Renaissance map. The aforementioned had been acquired inserted in a French adapted and unauthorised copy of the Introduction to Cosmography dated 1507 and printed in Lyon. The son of a Dutch American immigrant from Flusching, H. C. Kalbfleisch bought it in Paris in 1881 and brought it to New York. The author offers key evidence that this secretive map is an important misinterpreted and misdated cultural historical prototype which antedates five later woodcut copies: gores in Munich UB, Minnesota-Hauslab, Christie’s, SL Munich and Offenburg. He proves that its size and scale are inspired by a calculation of Leonardo da Vinci as described in one of his Codices, and applied on the 1504 Ostrich Egg globe discovered in London 2012. The research methodology used is stemmatics as developed by the German scholar K. Lachmann applied on ancient maps and the evaluation of the scientific aspects and architectural, historical and artistic design. Evidence was offered that the Introduction to Cosmography printed in France in which the engraved map was loosely inserted, together with two additional copper engravings, was printed prior to March 1508. The map research leads to the Benedictine monk and German cartographer, globe constructor and astrologist Donnus Nicolaus Germanus. The latter was the first who constructed a terrestrial and a celestial globe for the library of the Pope Pius IV. The two additional copper engravings lead to the Dutch born medical doctor and astrologer Guillelmus de Wissekerke, supplier of astrological instruments for French kings and the Duke of Milan. The artistic decorator for these copper engravings L. Boulengier was from the city of Albi in France, a possible key stepping-stone to the Papacy in Rome. The cathedral in Albi stood as an architectural symbol against the Cathars. Boulengier drew his inspiration from the Gothic flamboyant style of that world heritage cathedral in his home town Albi. He decorated these engravings on behalf of the powerful and art-loving Florimond de Robertet, Secretary of State for three subsequent French kings including King Francis I, 1515. Robertet was a client of Leonardo da Vinci. A date on two of the three artistic prints is a key date for the royalty of France. The French king Louis XII lost the succession of his House Valois-Orléans to the House of Valois-Angoulême after failing to produce a male heir to the throne. The author concludes that the small globular map naming America is America’s oldest Birth Certificate. A printed letter—early 1508—by Martin Waldseemüller provides the date. The small map precedes by more than eight years the large woodcut world map discovered in 1903 in Castle Wolfegg (Baden-Württemberg) by the Austrian Jesuit priest Dr. J. Fischer and which was sold to the Library of Congress, in 2001 for US $10 million. This research is a reappraisal. It is also a rebuttal of a misdirection in the history of science and a misleading error of 133 years ago. It combines medical, geographical, and cultural history of science. It leads the reader through Italian and French Renaissance and concentrates on aspects of architecture, map design, Leonardo da Vinci, French Royalty, and the early discovery of America. It offers a surprising ending leading to the city of New York, named Nouvelle-Angoulême in 1524.

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Missinne, S. (2015) America’s Birth Certificate: The Oldest Globular World Map: c. 1507. Advances in Historical Studies, 4, 239-307. doi: 10.4236/ahs.2015.43019.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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