The last remaining copy of a 500-year-old map of the world that first named America accurately is going on display at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., starting December 13th.
The map, comprising of 12 sheets, was purchased in 2003 from a German Prince for $10mm USD. To ensure it is preserved it will be mounted on a huge (6ft by 9.5ft) display made from a single block of aluminum. For added protection, the display case will be filled with inert Argon gas.
The map, created by a German Monk, thirteen years after Christopher Columbus discovered the Western Hemisphere, is particularly important to researchers because of its nearly accurate depiction of the world. Not only did the mapmaker draw and name South America almost accurately, but he also put a huge ocean to the West of America, years before the Pacific Ocean was discovered.
What is confusing to researchers is the fact that when the same monk created another map several years later, he changed everything. He named North America "Terra de Cuba" (land of Cuba) and South America "Terra Nova" (new land). He also reconnected North America to Europe and Asia, leaving out the oceans that separate the continents.
While researchers may never find out the reason for the significant changes, this 500-year old map is a milestone map, which marks the beginning of the modern period. This was when people in Europe started to realize, that there were still some undiscovered territories in the world.
Sources: archeoscience.wordpress.com, geolounge.com