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Ostrich-Egg Globe Believed Oldest To Show New World

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the now-let's-fight-about-nomenclature dept.

Earth 63

The National Post is carrying a report of an exciting discovery for cartographic historians: an ostrich-egg globe purchased last year at the London Map Fair is now believed to be the oldest to show any part of the New World. "In a lengthy essay published in the latest issue of The Portolan, the peer-reviewed journal of the Washington Map Society, Belgian map collector and historical researcher Stefaan Missinne argues that the ostrich-egg globe not only predates the Hunt-Lenox Globe but was probably used as the model for casting the more famous copper object. If true, then the small, unnamed island shown to the far north in the 'Mundus Novus' portion of the egg-globe’s western hemisphere — a crude depiction of the 'New World' as it was understood just a few years after the discovery voyages of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot and others — is the earliest image of Newfoundland or any other part of Canada on any surviving globe in the world." More at the Washington Map Society's page.

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63 comments

Native Americans? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672075)

I suppose the Native Americans didn't use maps or globes?

Re:Native Americans? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 8 months ago | (#44672139)

i see your point however it is obvious they are talking about known globes/maps. I am positive that there were others before this of the area however they are lost or still hidden from modern society.

Re:Native Americans? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672155)

oh yeah, all those examples of native american made globes out there really prove your point.

Re:Native Americans? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about 8 months ago | (#44672233)

I suppose the Native Americans didn't use maps or globes?

I'm sure they used maps, but as they weren't a seafaring race, I doubt they had globes.

Re:Native Americans? (4, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 8 months ago | (#44672327)

I'm sure they used maps, but as they weren't a seafaring race, I doubt they had globes.

Actually, northern Native American "maps" were more like "narratives" on how to get from once place to the next, and were mostly stored on human media. So a "map" would be more like directions, "Travel in the direction of the setting sun, hang a Ralph at the big snowy mountain . . .", etc.

They weren't geographical maps in that sense.

Re:Native Americans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44676909)

They had things like deerskins or woven art with artwork on it which could be interpreted as a map, but they were mainly pictographic rather than geographic. Something like a representation of what might be major landmarks like a river or a lake alongside mountains. Of course you'd have to know the story behind the artwork to know which mountains and rivers were represented, and which tribes along a river certain symbols might represent, etc.

As for cartographic maps? The majority of those likely came later after their land was being colonized by settlers from Europe. The information is useful, so there wouldn't be any reason for various tribes to not have or make maps. Just like horses and guns were quickly adopted for use when available.

Native Americans navigated IFR? (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 8 months ago | (#44677667)

Maps are for VFR pilot weenies.

IFR navigation is largely following directions in relation to radio beacons, largely VOR headings marking "Victor airways" and the intersecting points of VOR headings.

Pre-9-11, I had conversations with cockpit crews and was told that IFR nav, in turn, is for General Aviation weenies as the Big Guys up in the Positive-Control Airspace of the Flight Levels and Terminal Control Areas do it by The Great Spirit in the Sky giving them radar vectors . . .

Re:Native Americans? (4, Informative)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#44674067)

There wasn't a "race" of Native Americans, there were many different peoples of varied descent. There were at least three major and many minor influxes of people from northeast Asia, and possibly some from northern Europe, and maybe even Africa and southeast Asia. Scandinavians had more in common with Arabs than Algonquins did with Andean peoples.

There were a number of seafaring American peoples. There were many in the Pacific Northwest and the Caribbean, traders sailed from northern Chile to Central America and others from Central America to central California, and IIRC there was also trade between the mouths of the Amazon and the Rio Plata. Because the only written histories were destroyed by the Spanish (Bishop Landa boasted of having burned over a million books in his diocese alone) they're mostly forgotten.

Re:Native Americans? (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 8 months ago | (#44674357)

Not of the world.

If you want a map that includes both newfoundland and cape horn you're not likely to find any native american maps from before 1504 that has what you're looking for. If you want to find any native american maps that include european or asian coasts from before 1500 you're SOL.

The beginning of misinformation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672091)

It is obvious to anyone with even a modicum of education that the world is flat.
This so-called "globe" is merely the first example of state-sponsored misinformation, designed to keep the general populace ignorant of the true nature of the world.

Re:The beginning of misinformation (1)

houghi (78078) | about 8 months ago | (#44672187)

I heard people telling the world was flat and they got a lot of opposition.
I heard people telling the world was round and they got a lot of opposition.

But understand that the world is both flat AND round. Once you can accept that, we will have no more wars as this will show that we will understand and respect other peoples opinion and view.

The world is flat AND round, just like a pizza!

Re:The beginning of misinformation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673117)

It is obvious to anyone with even a modicum of education that the world is flat.

You're still pissed Obama won, aren't you?

Re:The beginning of misinformation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673267)

And now we have GPS maps which continue the goal of misinformation but with a sense of humor. Example: while going 75mph the GPS device yells "Make a sharp left now" or while appoching a beach that begins 100 yards ahead, the GPS device announces "take the first right in exactly one and a half miles". At least an egg map would be something to eat if lost.

Re:The beginning of misinformation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44676021)

No, everyone knows the world is round. Just like a pancake.

that was (5, Funny)

ozduo (2043408) | about 8 months ago | (#44672103)

one very clever ostrich

Re:that was (3, Funny)

Ira Sponsible (713467) | about 8 months ago | (#44672257)

Yes indeed. This is yet more evidence of Intelligent Design. How else could such a marvellous thing get crapped out of an animal so clearly showing what man had not yet learned about the shape of our planet?

Re:that was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673969)

Eggs do not emerge from the anus, and therefore they are not "crapped" out.

Re:that was (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 8 months ago | (#44674273)

I hate to disappoint, but birds lay eggs through exactly the same channel as they crap. It's called a Cloaca [wikipedia.org]. Go forth and educate thyself.

Re:that was (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44674311)

Eggs do not emerge from the anus, and therefore they are not "crapped" out.

Eggs do not emerge from the anus, and therefore they are not "crapped" out.

In many species, eggs most certainly do emerge from the anus. It's just when they do, they are rarely intact and frequently in a rather advanced state of digestion.

Okay. (0)

Seumas (6865) | about 8 months ago | (#44672117)

Well, that's neat looking.

I predict this will be the least commented on article in Slashdot's history.

Re:Okay. (0)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 8 months ago | (#44672131)

Sad but true my friend, /. used to be all about pushing the boundaries, new discoveries and so on but it's hits++ for political/my favourite corporate team/oh god I've just hit 40 bullshit and so the braintrust diminishes.

Re:Okay. (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 8 months ago | (#44695203)

I predict this will be the least commented on article in Slashdot's history.

At 57 comments (plus this one), it's not even in contention. I've submitted articles with lower comment counts than that. And noting that you've a lower UID than I have (rare!), I wouldn't be terribly surprised if you had too.

Colombus discovering America is a myth. (4, Informative)

fragfoo (2018548) | about 8 months ago | (#44672129)

There are strong evidences that the Portuguese discovered America long before Columbus. But do not take my word, do your own research.
Also, there are indications that Columbus himself was Portuguese.

I will let this sink in (no pun intended).

You can read a bit about it here http://www.dightonrock.com/discoveryofnorthamerica.htm [dightonrock.com], although it doesn't look like a very credible site, seems to be inline with texts I read elsewhere.

Disclaimer: I am Portuguese.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672221)

There are strong evidences that the Portuguese discovered America long before Columbus.

Not really *strong* evidence. More like *dubious* evidence.

As someone who lives near "Dighton Rock" and has visited it and done some research related to it,
well.., there is a reason that only Portuguese people seem to have heard about it. Any credible evidence of anything has long been destroyed, and the most likely source of the markings on it is from native american activity.

On the other hand, we KNOW that some Vikings were in North America ~1000 AD, well before Portugal existed as an independent nation. (Viking artifacts have been found in 2 sites in Labrador, and there is less definitive evidence in Quebec). I don't see any good reason to contest their claim to being the first European contact.

Not surprisingly, that is one of the alternate explanations for some of the markings on Dighton rock. This is also very unlikely.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

fragfoo (2018548) | about 8 months ago | (#44672299)

I meant surprisingly strong compared to the generally accepted as a fact that Columbus was an Italian which discovered America.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (5, Funny)

Quasimodem (719423) | about 8 months ago | (#44672571)

About the same time "Christopher Columbus" discovered the what he mistook to be Cathay, the island natives of Guanahani (Bahamas) discovered a Portuguese pretending to be an Italian in a Spanish sail boat whom they mistakenly welcomed.

It was not a great day for clarity.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682717)

+1 virtual mod point!

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 8 months ago | (#44672227)

There are strong evidences that the Portuguese discovered America long before Columbus.

Maps! . . . or it didn't happen!

Actually, didn't the Portuguese (formerly known as) Prince Hank da Navigator keep an extensive collection of maps in Sagres? But they were all secret, so they probably didn't end up on any ostrich eggs. That would have made good proof.

But then again . . . those bloody Vikings singing Spam were probably there even earlier. Any experts on Viking maps in da house . . . ?

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (5, Informative)

eggstasy (458692) | about 8 months ago | (#44672809)

In 1755, the strongest earthquake Europe had ever seen wiped out half of Portugal, including its main historical archives and an immensely valuable art collection, located in the King's riverside palace. If you think Japan had a tsunami, try having half of a 300 ft tall hill wiped out, 20 miles away from the sea.
 

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672235)

Vikings beat you all. Get over it.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 8 months ago | (#44674489)

The vikings didn't seem to get very far south though.

Columbus 'discovered' a couple of islands (peurto rico and cuba basically), at least initially. The difference was that the vikings seem to have contented themselves with the north, whereas Spanish and Portuguese and British and French sailors started looking for anything else, and importantly, looking for edges once they found the giant land mass that is north, central and south america.

I suppose it's all down to practical differences. The Vikings didn't view trade or colonization as highly competitive races, whereas England, France, Spain and Portugal were very much interested in competition with each other, and if one thought it was an opportunity, they all did.

What's in your wallet? (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 8 months ago | (#44677719)

But didn't the Vikings carry a credit card that gave them more usable Rewards Points for their overseas travels?

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about 8 months ago | (#44672309)

Discovery credit often goes to the first person to successfully exploit the thing discovered. People make similar claims about the first airplane to fly, yet it was the Wrights who both flew early AND created the Wright Company to capitalize on their new invention -- therefore they get the lion's share of the credit. There are strong arguments to be made for Mozhaysky, Ader, Maxim, and others to have beaten the Wrights to be the first to fly a heavier-than-air craft, yet they didn't "get off the ground", so to speak.

So did the Vikings or Portugese establish trade with the Americas? Did they bring back bars of silver or gold, or native American artifacts? Make maps or ostrich-egg globes? Were they celebrated with parades upon their return, something that others emulated and wrote about? Even if they were the first to arrive on the shores, nothing happened as a result.

In other words, "history is written by the winners."

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 8 months ago | (#44675789)

"Discovery credit often goes to the first person to successfully exploit the thing discovered."

Only if you subscribe to a dominator culture value system. Otherwise, you can say the New World was discovered about 50,000 years ago, according to the latest findings.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 8 months ago | (#44695285)

Otherwise, you can say the New World was discovered about 50,000 years ago, according to the latest findings.

Errr, there's new evidence? Last I heard was that the likely settlement date was around 14-15 thousand years ago. There's the slim possibility of an earlier settlement which went extinct, but that's on very scant and much-doubted evidence.

Australia, OTOH, was probably settled around 50,000 years ago. But the ice in NE Siberia then was thick enough to make it unlikely that anyone could have got across to the Bering Strait, let alone across it, until approaching 16,000 years ago. There's always the possibility of a coastal access route, but with sea level rise relevant evidence is very likely to have been submerged, which makes such assertions implausible. Besides, where are the Native American artefacts and sites from, say, 30,000 to 20,000 years ago in South America?

Journal, volume and page number are adequate reference details.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (2)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 8 months ago | (#44676697)

Actually, the Vikings lived in the Americas for five hundred years. This was fairly well known at the time in Iceland.

What Columbus had that the Vikings didn't was that thier American culture died out before the printing press was invented. Columbus, who was by all accounts a total buffoon, too stupid to even realise what he'd bumped into, became famous because the printing press had been invented [stackexchange.com] a few decades earlier. Thus all of Europe found out about his explorations, rather than just a few nautically-inclined iberians. Empowered to communicate, they could figure out what he'd found, even if he was too stupid to see it.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

fragfoo (2018548) | about 8 months ago | (#44697587)

The press thesis when compared with the vikings makes sense, but when compared with the "iberians" it does not. The iberians had the same access to press, they were not a just "few nautically-inclined iberians", Portugal had a whole sea discovery strategy and had the most advanced sailing knowledge of that time.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

fragfoo (2018548) | about 8 months ago | (#44697817)

So did the Vikings or Portugese establish trade with the Americas?

Yes (the Portuguese).

Did they bring back bars of silver or gold, or native American artifacts?

Yes and yes, it is just disputed if that was before or after "Columbus".

Make maps or ostrich-egg globes?

Yes, it is just disputed if that was before or after "Columbus".

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#44672333)

Regardless, the Norse [answers.com] were probably the first Europeans to discover America. They are thought to have landed around 985, which is over 500 years before Columbus.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

GNious (953874) | about 8 months ago | (#44676735)

Is amazing the navigational errors you can make, after enough mushroom-laced fermented honey...

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 8 months ago | (#44695299)

I'd recommend you read one of Tim Severin's books about the "Brendan Voyage", to sober you up about the joys of seafaring in the Arctic in a sail boat with a thousand-year-old design.

It's not a lot of fun in modern boats. Getting hit by a 22m wave spills your coffee, even in a modern 100,000 tonne dynamic-positioning vessel.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672497)

Everyone in Europe has their own theory on who Columbus (and his companions) "really" were. There are people who say that he or his backers were Jewish, out to get money to fund a new Crusade. There are people who say he was Portuguese or Italian or Greek (he at least spent some time in the Greek islands). In the end, it's largely irrelevant, except to people who need their nationalism stoked a bit.

There was, though, a 16th century story about Columbus getting his info from the Portuguese. Sepulveda (a Spaniard) wrote in his De Orbe Novo that Columbus (whom he calls a Ligurian, that is, Italian, but says had a Portuguese wife) got his info from a sick Portuguese sailor, who made his way to Madeira after a storm that blew him off course during a trip to Britain. The dying sailor spilled all he knew to Columbus, so Sepulveda's story attributes knowledge of the new world to the Portuguese prior to Columbus, but only accidental knowledge gained through one voyage. On the other hand, Sepulveda clearly makes up a number of other stories about Columbus that aren't attested anywhere else.

Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (1)

Guru80 (1579277) | about 8 months ago | (#44672701)

Plenty of people "discovered" it through the years without a doubt....just nobody big enough to write the history books or be taken seriously.

CANADA YOU HAVE COME A LONG WAY BABY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672239)

Once but an ink scribble on an ostrich egg to-day is a, uh, hm. All right still just an ink scribble on an ostrich egg.

The Best Kept Secret Fishing Spot (5, Interesting)

wrackspurt (3028771) | about 8 months ago | (#44672367)

Everybody was fishing off the Grand Banks and trying to keep it a secret. Although throughout the beginning of the Age of Discovery [wikipedia.org] maps were kept top secret.

Columbus just followed others maps & routes. (2)

djupedal (584558) | about 8 months ago | (#44672529)

Da Vinci may have made that globe, or someone working with him. They had access to maps and books in the Vatican, which were gifts from the Chinese in 1434.

Re:Columbus just followed others maps & routes (1)

wrackspurt (3028771) | about 8 months ago | (#44673211)

Were the maps the result of the The Ming Voyages [columbia.edu]? There's old tales that tell of the Chinese reaching the west coast of the Americas in the same era. China's xenophobic history seems to have been punctuated by just that one era of exploration. I've never found an authoritative, definitive read on the subject.

Re:Columbus just followed others maps & routes (1, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#44674205)

They may have traded as far away as the Gulf of Guinea, as Ming Dynasty ceramic has been excavated in the ruins of Timbuktu. An interesting book on the Chinese naval expeditions of the time is '1421, The Year China Discovered America' by Gavin Menzies. Although his conclusions are somewhat dubious the research he has done is quite interesting.

Re:Columbus just followed others maps & routes (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44674897)

An interesting book on the Chinese naval expeditions of the time is '1421, The Year China Discovered America' by Gavin Menzies.

I get sad whenever I see someone take Menzies seriously. He is a crank, nothing in his books can be trusted.

Re:Columbus just followed others maps & routes (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44676835)

Menzies is an idiot, and Chinese ceramics in Timbuktu are much more easily explained by down-the-line [answers.com] trading than actual voyaging. not to downplay what the Chinese accomplished; Zheng Hei's fleet was certainly technically capable of making transoceanic voyages, but there is absolutely no evidence that they ever did.

Re:Columbus just followed others maps & routes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673875)

unlikely, if you look at this ostrich globe it depicts south america and the west indies as aproached from over the atlantic rather than the pacific. note how it shows cuba and hispaniola.

Re:Columbus just followed others maps & routes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673905)

So you're claiming that the Chinese explored the Eastern coast of North America, before Columbus? Yeah, right. Maybe the western coast is possible..

Unfortunate picture (2)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 8 months ago | (#44673359)

And the photograph of this great, revolutionary globe
depicting the New World is centered on... Europe.

Great job, National Post, fantastic reporting, that's what we
need good journalists for.

(Second link has a better picture)

Re:Unfortunate picture (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 8 months ago | (#44674679)

Why is that unfortunate? No matter which country you're talking about, the map of the world is always centered on "home". Everywhere. All cultures. Curious why this is "wrong" somehow?

Re:Unfortunate picture (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44674907)

The 'news' is about the part of the world NOT shown on the photograph, that's what's wrong.

Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673591)

Canada it's an native work that was giving to this country later in 16th century, and the writing was at that time Kanada.
No body will use a hard C in 15th century.

Re: Canada (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673679)

Who used hard C? Try EVERYONE who spoke or wrote Latin in the Renaissance, which basically meant everyone with any education and literacy. K was only in use for a few rare words (kalendae, sometimes Karthago, but even that usually had a C). "Kanada" would be nigh impossible; "Canada" is exactly what you'd expect. Latin: it's why there's an "America" instead of an "Ameriga" today.

Re: Canada (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44675831)

Oh. For a second there I thought the previous AC had a speech impediment due to trauma suffered when they were a schoolboy and were attacked by a bat.

The first Apple iMaps (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 8 months ago | (#44675459)

Stevanius Jobus placed the first copywrite on 'directions to and of the New World' and then charged a lot of gold for it. Good thing is was so badly wrong to begin with.

Terribly fraud-prone ... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 8 months ago | (#44695355)

While I certainly hope that the mapping society have done their homework, this sort of fascinating discovery is precisely the sort of thing that would attract the attention of skilful, knowledgeable and experienced forgers.

There's an old adage that "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" ; always worth remembering when something comes along like this which seems too good to be true.

Hitler Diaries, anyone?

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