Title: Paris Wooden Globe

Date: 1535

Author: (unknown)

Description: This globe is made of wood, hence its name; and measures 20 cm in diameter. There is a hole in the middle through which passes an iron stem fixed on the stand. This globe, which was discovered in Italy in the 1880s, is undated and unsigned. It is covered with a thick layer of paint, over which the configurations and names have been inscribed with a pen in a cursive handwriting. The calligraphy is very poor, and evidently not the work of a professional cartographer.

The delineations and nomenclature proceed from a map belonging to the cartographical family which commenced towards the year 1523 to bridge over the configurations of the New World, as set forth in what Harrisse terms the Lusitano Germanic maps (e.g., Caveri/Waldseemüller, #307/#310), with delineations suggested, first by the voyage of Magellan (Schöner’s Globes of 1523 and 1533 #328), and then by the conquests of Cortes (Franciscus Monachus, 1526, #337). This is shown by the profiles of the northeast coast, from Terra Florida to the Baccaalearum, and on which we find inscribed names that are also on the northwestern continental region in Cantino and Caveri (#306 and #307). These are: Costa alta, Ponta(roixa), C. santo, C. arlear, C. lutar, Caninor, C. baxo, and Lago de lodro.

    Meridians are represented at intervals of ten degrees commencing at a prime meridian which passes through the Cape Verde Islands, while the parallels are similarly marked, the graduation being indicated on the prime meridian. The globe maker has retained in his representations the old climatic idea, of which climates there are nine specifically designated. We find on this globe such inscriptions as Baccaiarum Regio, with its neighboring Pelagus Baccaiarum, Terra Francesca, Hispania Major, Terra Florida, with the Gulf of Mexico bearing the name M. Cathayum as in the Nancy globe (#363). The South American continent is conspicuously marked as America Nova Orbis Pars, and contains in addition many regional names. The western ocean, beginning with that part which washes the coast of Mexico, thence southward, is called Mare di Sur, Mare Culuacanum, Mare Indicum Australe, Mare Pacificum, and Oceanus Magellanicus. The location of the colony which was planted by Pizarro in 1532, and which is called S. Michaelis, is made prominent.

The austral lands bear an inscription somewhat surprising. The simple cordiform map of Finaeus, 1531 (#356)  inscribes there: Terra australis nvper inventa, sed nondvm plene examinata  [the austral land, recently discovered, but not yet entirely explored] whereas the Paris Wooden Globe modifies the legend as follows: Terra australis recenter inventa anno 1499, sed nondvm plene cognita.  That is, it gives the date of 1499 for the discovery of the austral region. Harrisse is inclined to think that it is a reference to the voyage of Magellan, coupled with an erroneous rendering of the date in the account of Maximilianus Transylvanus: Soluit itaque Magellanus die decimo Augusti, Anno. M.D. xix.

The connection of this globe with those belonging to the class where the New World north of New Spain blends with Asia, is further shown by the names Terra Francesca (the present-day New England area) a name also used by Vesconte de Maiollo [Maggiolo] on his map of 1527 (#340), and Mare Catayum given to the Gulf of Mexico. Even at this relatively late date, the “New World” discoveries are still being shown connected to the “Old World” (i.e., Asia). Its most recent geographical data is Peru Provincia, and, within the borders of the latter, S. Michaelis, that is the colony which Pizarro planted in the valley of Tangarala in 1532, and to which he gave that name in acknowledgement of the miraculous assistance alleged to have been rendered to him by Saint Michael in his battles with the Indians of Puna. Since the news of the foundation of San Miguel began to circulate in Europe only in 1534, Harrisse ascribes to the globe the date of circa 1535.

Location: Paris National Library


*Harrisse, H., The Discovery of North America, pp. 613-614.

*Stevenson, E.L., Terrestrial and Celestial Globes, p. 114, Figure 55.


South Pole

North Pole

Redrawing of the Paris wooden globe from Harrisse.

Note the merging of the New World discoveries with the Old World (Asia)