Posts Tagged ‘ancient maps’

The Vingboons Map: Catastrophe Captured by Cartography? California as an Island; Mythology or Topography?

Church of Darwin, Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, The Flood of Noah, Uncategorized, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Jan 24 2011

by Don Kennedy

California As An Island –

What is All About

Some time in the past, before the ice age, most of western North America (and probably the whole world) was accurately mapped by a technologically advanced people. Who these people were and what technology they used is lost to us, but their maps remain as evidence that they did indeed accomplish the task. These ancient source maps were used by mapmakers in the 1600 to 1700s to fill in the vast unknown areas on the western side of North America. The recent mapmakers had no idea what was there, nor did anyone else, but they had source maps that showed the area as an island and they used them to fill in the gaps.

When were these source maps made?

They had to be made before the end of the ice age, because at the end of the ice age, the great ice dam holding back water in a huge lake finally gave way and the Grand Canyon was carved in just a few weeks. The Grand Canyon does not appear on any maps of California as an island that I have found, and is certainly not on the map used for this study, the Vingboons map of 1651.

In fact, on the Vingboons map, two rivers cross the location of the Grand Canyon. This creates a problem, because the ice age supposedly reached a maximum 18,000 years ago putting the date for modern man well before that. This pushes the date back into the realm of the Neanderthals, or even into the Paleolithic period, when we were supposed to be only capable of using stone tools.

An even greater problem is that the map also had to predate the uplift of the Nevada-Utah-Wyoming area that followed the end of the latest continental drift event in North America. (see Wikipedia, Farallon plate) According to continental drift theory, when the continents spread apart, the North America continental plate was pushed over an oceanic plate, which was forced down into the mantle of the earth.

The lighter minerals floated up against the bottom of North America, under the Nevada-Utah-Wyoming area. This area was lifted up from sea level (at least in Nevada, where the map shows where the sea encroached) to over 7,000 feet elevation in central Nevada, and similarly across all three states. The routes of rivers changed.

The Rio Grande, shown on the Vingboons map as the Rio de Norte, which used to flow into the Gulf of California, was forced to flow to the Gulf of Mexico. The map places a geologically recent date on continental uplift, the uplift having happened after the map was made, putting it within the historical presence of humans on earth.

Unfortunately, geology dates the North American continental drift events to the Jurassic period, 200,000,000 to 150,000,000 years ago. How will Science deal with the loss of 150,000,000 years? Since it requires abandoning a well entrenched worldview, it is most likely that the vast majority of academia will simply ignore this study and its implications.

The French La Californie ou Nouvelle Caroline of 1720 Also Showed California as an Island

In the following series of articles, I analyze the Johannes Vingboons “California as an Island” map area by area. We will see that the makers of the original map possessed a detailed knowledge of the geography of western North America. Correlation of features on the map to actual locations demonstrates that the map is very accurate.

After the analysis of the map I have included some information on the historical mapmaking and exploration of this area by the Spanish after the arrival of Columbus. The Spanish were extremely slow to explore this area, and the information they had was not allowed to be made public because they needed to protect information on their trade routes from their competitors. Vingboons was not using Spanish information to present California as an island.

These articles are my work and the result of my research. I have referenced all the sources I have used. None of these sources presents “California as an Island” as anything more than a myth.

I graduated from UCLA in 1976 from the School of Engineering. I followed the course of study in chemical engineering. I was introduced to the whole topic of California as an island in about 2008 by Cliff Paiva, who was also researching the locations of features on the map. We have taken different paths in our efforts to decipher the map, but I much appreciate Cliff’s getting me started.

If you have any questions regarding these articles, you can email me at

Don Kennedy

Click Here for the Original Articles and to Learn More About This Fasinating Topic

16th-Century Mapmaker’s Intriguing Knowledge

Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, The Flood of Noah, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 03 2008

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 17, 2008

    Thanks to Aram for Forwarding

How was it that a German priest writing in Latin and living in a French city far from the coast became the first person to tell the world that a vast ocean lay to the west of the American continents? That is one of the bigger mysteries in the history of the Renaissance.

But it is not the only one involving Martin Waldseemueller, a map-making cleric whose own story is sufficiently obscure that his birth and death dates aren’t known for certain.

Waldseemueller appears to have also known something about the contours of South America’s west coast years before Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and Ferdinand Magellan sailed around the bottom of the continent. History books record them as the first Europeans to bring back knowledge of the Pacific Ocean.

The evidence of this knowledge is in Waldseemueller’s world map of 1507, perhaps the most valuable of the 5 million maps owned by the Library of Congress. It was acquired for $10 million in 2003 and went on permanent display last year.

The map — in near-perfect condition and with no other known copies — is the oldest document that applies the label “America” to the land mass between Africa and Asia.

This was, of course, in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine navigator who had sailed to the New World for the Portuguese. (His first name was Latinized to “Americus” and then feminized to “America.”) The act of naming was apparently Waldseemueller’s alone; there is no evidence that the term was in use at the time.

New research by John W. Hessler of the Library of Congress has made the mystery of Waldseemueller’s knowledge deeper and richer. But it hasn’t answered the biggest question: How did he know?

“There is some probability that Waldseemueller knew something that is no longer extant — information that we don’t have,” Hessler said.

The researcher, 48, brings a diverse set of skills to the task. He took Latin all through parochial school and college (at Villanova University) and reads the language fluently. He is an engineer by training and is equally fluent in the mathematics of cartography.

In a new book called “The Naming of America,” Hessler provides the first published translation of the map’s text blocks. He has also done a modern translation of Waldseemueller’s book, “Cosmographiae Introductio,” printed in 1507 in St. Die, France, where the cartographer was canon of the cathedral. Although Waldseemueller gets most of the credit for the map and the book, he had a collaborator, an Alsatian named Matthias Ringmann, who died in 1511.

In the largest block of text on the map, Waldseemueller writes that many things remained unknown to the ancients “in no slight degree; for instance, in the west, America, named after its discoverer, which is now known to be a fourth part of the world.” In “Cosmographiae,” he uses similar language: “The earth is now known to be divided into four parts. The first three parts are continents, but the fourth part is an island, because it has been found to be surrounded on all sides by sea.”

Hessler said he thinks the phrases “now known” and “has been found to be” are crucial. They suggest geographical knowledge that is confirmed and believed, at least in some circles.
The idea that this was a total guess is far-fetched,” he said.

The people who knew were most likely Portuguese explorers (or at least sailed under the Portuguese flag). It was valuable, and most likely secret, knowledge. How it got to a priest-cartographer working under the patronage of the duke of Lorraine is a good question.

Equally intriguing is the shape of South America.

Inscribed along the western edge of that land mass in the 1507 map are the words “terra ultra incognita” — land most unknown. But the border is not drawn as one long, ignorantly straight line. Instead, it is a series of straight lines meeting at shallow angles, implying a mixture of knowledge and uncertainty.

Using a technique called “polynomial warping,” Hessler re-projected the image and compared Waldseemueller’s continent with the real one.

There are many differences, of course. But the correlation is about 75 percent, and at two important places — near the equator and near the place in northern Chile where the coast veers sharply to the northwest — the width of Waldseemueller’s South America and the actual one are almost the same.

Things were perhaps not as ultra incognita as he let on.

That is not the end of the strangeness, however.

In the large text block on the map, Waldseemueller requests “that those who are inexperienced and unacquainted with cosmography shall not condemn all this before they have learned what will surely be clearer to them later on, when they have come to understand it.”

It is a plea. He knows his map is asking a lot.

In 1516, Waldseemueller published his second great map, called the Carta Marina. It shows South America no longer as an island. The continent disappears off the left of the page, implying it is attached to Asia, which is on the right edge.

Hessler has provided the first English translations of the second map’s text blocks. In one of them, Waldseemueller says: “We will seem to you reader, to have diligently presented and shown a representation of the world previously, which was filled with error, wonder and confusion. . . . Our previous representation pleased very few people, as we have lately come to understand.”

Was this a retraction? It sounds like it. Was a continental America heresy? Hessler said he has found no reason to think it was. So why would Waldseemueller change his new view of the world to an older one?

That’s just one more mystery of the mysterious map.