Waldseemüller was one of the foremost cosmographers (scholars who studied the universe — the heavens and the earth, combining astronomy and geography) of Europe in his time.

His ideas about geography were similar to those of other scholars of the early sixteenth century. Except in one region.

Sometimes the name that a mapmaker gives to a place takes on a life of its own, even when he later has second thoughts and wishes to change it. This is the case with Martin Waldseemüller, who made two world maps in 1507. One map was a small globe;


the other a very large wall map.

wall map

A name that he added to these maps has appeared on world maps from 1507 to the present. Yet apparently Waldseemüller changed his mind about the suitability of the name shortly after he made these first maps. What name is it and why did Martin Waldseemüller change his mind?

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