1. Click on the
above map to bring up a larger version. View each of the detailed sections,
then, answer the following questions in order to understand the map's purpose.
2. Next, go to the Library
of Congress exhibit on the Diego
Gutiérrez map drawn two decades later. The site explains details
of motifs similar to the ones viewed in the Charta cosmographia, and will
help you answer the questions above.
The map was engraved
in Central Europe 1544, with whom does Emperor Charles V share domain of
What is his position
and size on the map intended to indicate? 
How is North America
imagined? Note its size. 
What perils are found
in the sea? What does this suggest about 16th century maritime knowledge?
Who inhabits the eastern
part of South America? 
3. Visit the exhibition
Orbis: Images of the New World, 1507-1669 at the Alderman Library,
University of Virginia. How did geographic thinking about North America
evolve and set the agenda for future exploration? Did misunderstanding
concerning the size of the continent lead to the search for a Northwest
passage? What do original maps tell you about European perceptions of the
New World in the 16th century? Do they suggest European fear of native
peoples or cultural superiority? How do these maps differ from the contemporary
interactive maps for this chapter?
Note the iconography
of the coats of arms. What future European power in North America is omitted?
What additional clues
are given to explain Spain's claims against other Europeans?
4. Go to the site
European Voyages of Exploration: Geography & Cartography, a tutorial
created by the Department of History, The University of Calgary, in order
to think about other aspects of the importance of maps for interpreting
the encounter between the old world and the new. Why is it said that the
main purpose of early cartographers is "not to discover what actually existed
but, rather, to rationalize the world around preconceived notions of religion
and philosophy"? Defend your answer.
5. Next, visit the
following Web sites to comprehend the fundamental shifts in the way European
mariners understood the world in the 15th and 16th centuries. As you read
the sites look for examples of the tools and methods the West Country cod
fishermen (described in the chapter 1 opening narrative) would have used
to reach Newfoundland in the 1550s.
6. In the 15th and 16th
centuries, Europe's emerging Atlantic powers, Portugal, Spain, England
and France, pioneered the discovery of sea routes which became the basis
of the process of globalization. To comprehend their motivations, their
actions, and the inevitable consequences of their colonization, return
Voyages of Exploration . Begin with the introduction, which will guide
you through the tutorial.
7. Finally, keep
in mind the map analysis process as you go on through the textbook. Continue
to think about the way maps shape the historical landscape and what they
tell us concerning the ways Americans understand and represent their place
in the world.
Pursue more information
about the issues discussed in Counterpoint: Changing Views of Columbus
(32), and Spain in the Western Hemisphere:
Early Modern World Context and the European Background of Colonization
of Congress 1492 Exhibit ~ Addresses questions related to the linking
of very different parts of the world, the Western Hemisphere and the Mediterranean.
The exhibition examines the first sustained contacts between American people
and European explorers, conquerors and settlers from 1492 to 1600. Visit
Columbus – Man and Myth exhibit section.
and the Age of Discovery ~ The Computerized Information Retrieval
System (CIRS) website was created by Millersville University of Pennsylvania
for the 500th anniversary of the encounter of two worlds. The site has
a database of secondary materials relating to encounter themes. Provides
insight on the “conquest” and Western hegemony debate.
Columbus Letter ~ Christopher Columbus's letter announcing the
success of his voyage to the "islands of the India sea" is a key document
in the social and intellectual histories of both Europe and the Americas
~ The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, University
of Southern Maine.
Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico from Modern History
Sourcebook ~ Accounts by the Aztecs, some of which were written
shortly after the conquest, collected by Mexican anthropologist,
Another page on the
European Voyages of Exploration site with a good map and images is The
Conquest of The Aztec Empire: Hernando Cortez.
Geográficas collection of 16th century Spanish American maps
at the Benson Latin American Collection comprise the original responses
to a questionnaire initiated by the Spanish Crown in 1577, and serve as
primary sources of information about the Spanish conquest of Middle America.
- To examine
the impact of disease on the indigenous population of the Americas
see, Alfred W. Crosby's essay, The Columbian Exchange: Plants, Animals, and Disease between the Old and New Worlds
Euro-biomedical Impact on the American Indian, and a good chart for
Columbian Biological Exchange, includes diseases, animals and plants.
For more details on plant exchanges visit the Smithsonian's History
section of the Seeds
of Change Garden.
England's Entry into America
Great Chinese Mariner Zheng He [Cheng Ho], in order to explore developments
beyond the Atlantic world and find possible answers to the question, “why
didn't China, the most advanced civilization of the early modern world,
engage in expansion and colonization” (34)? See also The
Ming Dynasty's Maritime History, and Asia.
For information on the
empires of interior Africa, and the currents of change that bring this
world into contact with Europe and the Americas, see Ancient
Ceuta the First Step.
For the social impact
of the Black Death on England and Early Modern Europe see
Reformation ~ Links to primary documents of the Protestant and