Martin Waldseemüller

Martin Waldseemüller

Martin Waldseemüller (c. 1475-1520) was a sixteenth-century cosmographer best known for his 1507 world map in twelve sheets, the earliest surviving map to include the name “America.” He was an influential mapmaker during his time whose work affected many of his contemporaries and successors. Waldseemüller was born near Freiburg, in what is now northern Germany. His family moved to Freiburg proper when he was young and he attended university in the city beginning in 1490.

Waldseemüller gathered information about the New World discoveries and geography from St.-Dié des Vosges in Lorraine, where he was a professor of cosmography under the patronage of René II, Duke of Lorraine. He was a member of an intellectual circle who produced work from the St.-Dié Press. However, the press failed when the Duke died, and Waldseemüller moved to Strasbourg.

He is best known for the 1507 map and another world projection, the Carta Marina published in 1516. He also published an edition of Ptolemy in 1513, in collaboration with Johann Schott, a friend from Freiburg and St.-Dié. Besides his innovative use of the toponym “America”, Waldseemüller was the first to create such a large printed world map, the author of the earliest known printed globe gores, the first to create a published collection of modern maps, and one of the first to create maps from ground measurements. He was knowledgeable in surveying methods and designed a quadrant and other instruments. He returned to St.-Dié late in life as canon, although he continued to return to Strasbourg for work and for carnival. He died in St.-Dié in 1520.

Waldseemuller is generally credited with having named the continent of America, based upon the then current belief that Amerigo Vespucci had been the first modern explorer to reach the continent of America in 1497, during the first of four expeditions to America which were then credited to Vespucci between 1497 and 1504. The report which described the 1497 expedition is now generally believed to be a forgery. Later in his career, Waldseemüller elected not to use the toponym for the continents, preferring to leave them unnamed. However, the name had been taken up by his contemporaries, in large part due to the influential nature of Waldseemüller’s earlier works.


1513 - Orbis Typus Universalis Iuxta Hydrographorum Traditionem

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The Earliest Obtainable Waldseemüller Map of the World Nice example of Martin Waldseemüller's modern map of the world, the earliest obtainable world map published by noted sixteenth-century cosmographer Waldseemüller. It was included in the first...


1513 - Tabula Moderna Indiae

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The Earliest Modern Map of India and Southeast Asia A striking example of Waldseemuller's modern map of the Indian Ocean, India, Southeast Asia and contiguous regions, from the 1513 edition of Waldseemuller's Geographia. Waldseemuller's modern map...


1513 - (Adriatic, Balkans, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia) Quinta Europae Tabula

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Nice example of Martin Waldseemuller's map of the region between the Danube River and the Adriatic Sea from the 1513 edition of Waldseemuller's Geographia. The map extends from Italy and the Adriatic Sea in the South to Austria, Croatia, Slovenia,...


1513 - Octava Europe Tabula [Baltic, Scandinavia, Poland & Eastern Europe]

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Nice old color example of Waldseemuller's map of Eastern Europe, extending from the Black Sea to Scandinavia and the Baltic Regions, centered on Russia and the Ukraine. The map includes a number of written notes in a contemporary hand. The map is...


1513 - Tercia Asie Tabula (Armenia, etc.) (with early manuscript additions)

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A striking example of Waldseemuller's map of the region between the Black and Caspian Seas, centered on Armenia. The first modern atlas, prepared by Martin Waldseemuller using the translation of Mathias Ringmann. This is one of the most important...


1513 - Tabula Secunda Europe (Spain & Portugal)

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Nice example of Martin Waldseemuller's map of the Iberian Peninsula from the 1513 edition of Waldseemuller's Geographia.


1513 - Quarta Asiae Tabula [Shows Cyprus]

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Fine Old Color example of Martin Waldseemüller's edition of Ptolemy's map of the Holy Land, the Levant and Mesopotamia, printed in Strasbourg in 1513. This remarkably beautiful map is one of the most historically important and finely printed early...


1513 - Tabula Secunda Africae [with Malta, Sicily & Sardinia]

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Waldsemuller's 1513 Ptolemaic Map of Northern Africa, Sicily and Sardinia antique map by Martin Waldseemuller, showing the ancient, Ptolemaic image of part of the Coast of North Africa and contiguous islands of Malta, Sicily and Sardinia. This map...


1513 - Undecima Asiae Tabula (Southeast Asia, China and India)

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Martin Waldseemuller's Map of Southeast Asia, Based Upon Claudius Ptolemy Fine example of this important early map of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia, from the 1513 Waldseemuller edition of Ptolemy's Geography, Claudii Ptholomei Alexandrini. The...


1513 - Quinta Asie Tabula

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Martin Waldseemuller's important early map of Persia, Armenia and the region between the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf. Wood block map of Persia from Martin Waldseemüller's 1513 edition of Ptolemy, a landmark work that contributed to major advances...


1513 - Tabula Moderna Terre Sancte

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Waldseemuller's Modern Map of the Holy Land. Nice example of Waldseemuller's modern map of the Holy Land. This work was based on the manuscript maps of Sanuto and Vesconte of c.1320, which were updated by Nicholaus Germanus in 1482 to include more...


1513 - [First Modern Map of Southern Africa] Tabula Moderna Secunde Porcionis Aphricae

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The First Modern Map of Southern Africa Striking example of renowned mapmaker Martin Waldseemüller's modern map of the southern half of Africa. It was included in the first separate collection of modern maps and made up part of the influential 1513...


1513 - [Tabula Moderna Prime Partis Aphricae]

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The First Modern Map of the North Part of Africa Nice example of renowned mapmaker Martin Waldseemüller's modern map of the northern half of Africa, published in Strasbourg in 1513. This is the first printed modern map of the region, showing North...