waldseemueller_map.jpg

There is a certain elegance to some aspects of history. America as a continent has a checkered history, both depraved and sublime, in every-varying amounts. The great explorers are among the best of us, however their designs were motivated. This is a great gift from Germany; we are both bound and enhanced by our ancestry.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel officially handed over to the United States on Monday a 500-year-old map that was the first to tell the world of a new land that it called America.

Library of Congress historians say the world map, completed by German-born cleric and cartographer Martin Waldseemueller in 1507, is the first known document to use the name America, the first to depict the Western Hemisphere and the first to show separate Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The New World territories were named for Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.

These maps are a heritage of those brave and daring men, and we should be glad to get this boon.

 I deliberately left an ambiguious pronoun reference to see if anyone caught it.



  1. edwinrogers says:

    This was the first use of the term, America in association with land on a map. A very impressive gift. Ptolemaic and Chinese maps hinted at distant coasts beyond Atlantic and Pacific. Greeks traded with Norsemen in the Kiev settlements and learned of lands beyond the Atlantic coast. The Chinese are supposed to have detailed maps of the north Australian coastline and California, probably through trading with Polynesian merchantmen.

  2. doug says:

    I have to say, that’s pretty cool. Good on’ the Germans! Who can stay mad at them? 😉

  3. xwing71 says:

    Pretty cool. I hope we put it in the Smithsonian or something so we can all see it.

  4. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    This gift was also quite a bargain… We paid only $10 million for it. I’m always very fond of the gifts that i don’t have to pay very much for.

  5. Iggy says:

    If we paid $10 million for it, how is it a gift?

  6. John S says:

    Iggy the gift is allowing a German national treasure to be sold. I know it is kind of iffy in respect to calling it a gift.

    John S

  7. ChrisMac says:

    Is this some sort of offsite backup?

  8. smartalix says:

    5,

    The Germans didn’t have to sell it, and $10 million is actually not a lot of money for a priceless piece of American history.

  9. BertDawg says:

    They were cleaning out their attic, that’s all. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Perhaps.

  10. Mike says:

    This is to American history as humans first calling the Moon “the Moon” is to lunar history. Boring.

  11. moss says:

    We can always count on at least one American showing up whose perception of history requires a Walt Disney production and thorough analysis from John Wayne.

  12. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #5 – Welcome to my point 🙂

    #8 – A German mapmaker was first to create a map showing the new world, and he chose to name it after an Italian who was first to map the coast of the southern continent. This is a peice of “American” history how?

    Don’t get me wrong… It’s a nice map and well worth the price… But it is only marginally a peice of American history and it is in no way shape or form a peice of the history of The United States of America.

    Well… In one way it is… Maybe news of this map will finally teach rednecks across the land where the word “Merrkin” comes from. (Take that hicks! – America is Italian! WOO HOO!)

  13. Mike says:

    #12, though I agree with you, I do believe he was referring to the continents, not the country.

  14. James Hill says:

    Those NAZIs sure are good at collecting priceless pieces of art and history.

  15. Angel H. Wong says:

    #14

    It makes you wonder from whom did they took it from?

  16. mark says:

    13. Yes but who do you think coughs up the money? Now if we can just get the rest of the North and S American countries to pay their share.

  17. Sitting Bull says:

    From the article:
    “a 500-year-old map that was the first to tell the world of a new land that it called America.”

    Thanks Europe for giving it a name (Italian at that), But we were also inhabitants of the world, when you idiots thought the damn thing was flat.

  18. al bickers says:

    “I deliberately left an ambiguious pronoun reference to see if anyone caught it. ”

    Then, wrote of your adventure in white text at the bottom of the post.

  19. Smartalix says:

    18,

    I put that comment in so people would know the error was deliberate, not that I was making up an excuse for poor grammar in the headline. I must admit that none of our sharp-eyed readers caught it.

    12,

    Since we have taken the name of the continent as our own, and that name is also what the world calls us, the first use of that name is important. This artifact is part of the discovery and founding of this country, and a part of its history. American history didn’t start the moment the Articles of Confederation were signed, it began long before that. This map is a marker that highlights that beginning.

  20. James Hill says:

    #15 – Probably the Native Americans.

  21. BubbaRay says:

    At least Ross Perot didn’t buy it. As I recall, he owns one of the original Magna Carta documents.


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