Trying to trace or compare names on the maps is difficult. For example, Armando Cortesão, author of the major study devoted to the 1424 Nautical Chart, relates the name "Santanazes" to "demons" which he believed could refer to contact between hostile peoples and Portuguese mariners. On the other hand, he also noted that the names might refer to Irish or Norse stories about North America. The crescent-shaped island near Santanazes named "Saya," in his opinion, bears a relationship to a Portuguese word describing armor worn by soldiers. In some cases no meaning could be found for a name, for example "Ymana," an island west of Antilia. This island is Babcocks Reylla. It becomes "Royllo" or "Roillo" on other maps. About this name change Cortesão simply says: "Why Ymana was changed into Royllo and Roillo, is anybodys guess" (Cortesão 1954, p. 80).
Cortesão concludes his study by giving reasons that the Antilia
group of islands should be considered representations of eastern
America. As arguments Cortesão uses references to western lands
by Plato, Aristotle, Strabo, Pliny and many other writers. Cortesão
writes "It is easy to dismiss these early references to the Atlantic
voyages and the existence of lands in the Western Atlantic, as
many writers have done and still do, as a product of legend and
fancy which successive authors perpetuated and enlarged out of
their own imaginations" (Cortesão 1954, p. 95). About Antilia
he concludes: "The origin and meaning of the word Antilia have
been a subject of much controversy. In fact Antilia is composed
of two Portuguese words: ante or anti and ilha, an archaic form of the Portuguese ilha, i.e. island. It is, therefore, a purely Portuguese word and
it was meant to designate an islanddiscovered perhaps at the
beginning of the fifteenth century by some unknown navigators,
probably Portugueselying before a continent, which at first might
have been thought to be Asia, or opposite the European Continent"
(Cortesão 1954, p. 106). Cortesãos work while respected, was
done a long time ago, has a nationalist flavor, and depends heavily
on assumptions about the seafaring of the Phoenicians, about which
almost nothing concrete is known.
Use the magnifying glasses below to see the island details.
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