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Terra Australis Collection

History Archive - Terra Australis Collection

Terra Australis (Latin for South Land) was a hypothetical continent first posited in antiquity and which appeared on maps between the 15th and 18th centuries. Aristotle first speculated in Meteorologica Book II 5, "Now since there must be a region bearing the same relation to the southern pole as the place we live in bears to our pole...".

His ideas were later expanded by Ptolemy (2nd century AD), who believed that the Indian Ocean was enclosed on the south by land, and that the lands of the Northern Hemisphere should be balanced by land in the south. Marcus Tullius Cicero used the term cingulus australis ("southern zone") in referring to the Antipodes in Somnium Scipionis ("Dream of Scipio"). The land (terra in Latin) in this zone was the Terra Australis.

Legends of Terra Australis Incognita, an "unknown land of the South" date back to Roman times and before, and were commonplace in medieval geography, although not based on any documented knowledge of the continent. Ptolemy's maps, which became well known in Europe during the Renaissance, did not actually depict such a continent, but they did show an Africa which had no southern oceanic boundary (and which therefore might extend all the way to the South Pole), and also raised the possibility that the Indian Ocean was entirely enclosed by land. Christian thinkers did not discount the idea that there might be land beyond the southern seas, but the issue of whether it could be inhabited was controversial.

The first depiction of Terra Australis on a globe was probably on Johannes Schoner's lost 1523 globe on which Oronce Fine is thought to have based his 1531 double cordiform (heart-shaped) map of the world. On this landmass he wrote "recently discovered but not yet completely explored". The body of water beyond the tip of South America is called the "Mare Magellanicum," one of the first uses of navigator Ferdinand Magellan's name in such a context.

Schoner called the continent Brasiliae Australis in his 1533 tract, Opusculum geographicum. In it, he explained:

Brasilia Australis is an immense region toward Antarcticum, newly discovered but not yet fully surveyed, which extends as far as Melacha and somewhat beyond. The inhabitants of this region lead good, honest lives and are not Anthropophagi [cannibals] like other barbarian nations; they have no letters, nor do they have kings, but they venerate their elders and offer them obedience; they give the name Thomas to their children [after St Thomas the Apostle]; close to this region lies the great island of Zanzibar at 102.00 degrees and 27.30 degrees South.

References:

Franz von Wieser, Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent. Auf den Globen Johannes Schoner. Beitrage zur Geschichte der Erdkunde im xvi. Jahrhundert, Innsbruck, 1881 (reprinted Amsterdam, Meridian, 1967),

Pelletier, Monique (1995). "The cordiform World maps by Oronce Fine". Cartographica Helvetica. 12: 27-37. Retrieved 31 December 2011.

Johannes Schoener, Opusculum Geographicum, Norimberga, [1533], Pt.II, cap.xx. Ioannis Schoneri ... Opusculum geographicum

John Noble Wilford: The Mapmakers, the Story of the Great Pioneers in Cartography from Antiquity to Space Age, p. 139, Vintage Books, Random House 1982, ISBN 0-394-75303-8

Duo [cingulis] sunt habitabiles, quorum australis ille, in quo qui insistunt adversa vobis urgent vestigia, nihil ad vestrum genus ("Two of them [the five belts or zones that gird and surround the earth] are habitable, of which the southern, whose inhabitants are your antipodes, bears no relation to your people"). Alfred Hiatt, "Terra Australis and the Idea of the Antipodes", Anne M. Scott (ed), European Perceptions of Terra Australis, Ashgate Publishing, 2012, pp. 18-10.

William Eisler,The Furthest Shore: Images of Terra Australis from the Middle Ages to Captain Cook, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 10.

Available Books

Images

Image Name
Italia Novissima Descriptio
Regni Hispaniae
Terre australe II
Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques
Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae
Terre du Perou I
Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio
Asiae Nova Descriptio
Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio
Neuve Espagne II
Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus
Afrique orientale I
Partie des canibales
Afrique occidentale I
Title page with inscription,
Mer de l'Inde orientale I
Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio
Typus Vindelicae
Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni
Europae
Thietmarsiae
Galliae Regni Potentiss
Title Page
Regni Neapolitani
Carte physique de la mer des Indes
Cyprus Insula
Aegean Sea
Southern Africa and southwest Indian Ocean
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Northeastern South America
Europe and Northern Africa
Terre australe V
Pourtour de la mer noire
Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531
Südliche Hemisphaere des Globus von Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1533
Turcici Imperii Descriptio
Ocean indien et mer rouge
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1520
Avertissement
Palatinatus Bavariae Descriptio et Wirtenbergensis Duvatus Vera Descriptio
Rose des vents
Terre australe III
Terre australe VII
Pourtour de la mer noire
Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio
Terre australe
II.me Table de la geographie Physique
Carte physique de la Grande mer
Back Cover
La Java
Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador
Inde orientale
Europe septentrionale et Groenland II
Galliae Narbonensis et Sabaundiae et Burgundiae
Atlantique sud
Mer rouge et golfe persique
Quatrieme Projection
Amerique - Terre du Bresil
Afrique occidentale II
Terre australe IX
Ducatus Mediolanensis
Terre australe I
Mer des Antilles
Europe centrale et meridionale
Front Cover
Sixieme Projection
Europe and Northern Africa
North America, East Coast
Mer de l'Inde orientale II
Terre australe VI
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest I
Fly Leaf
Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient
Silesiae Typus
Regni Bohemiae Descriptio
Neuve Espagne I
Spine
I.ere Table de la geographie Physique
Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci
Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf.
Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio
Afrique du Nord-ouest
Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii
Western Europe and Northwestern Africa
Back Cover
Terre du Perou III
Africae Tabula Nova
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515
Europe septentrionale et Groenland I
Afrique meridionale
Premiere Projection
Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche
Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip
Pedemontanae
Austriae
Grande et Petite Jave II

Maps

Map Name
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Caletensium / Verom. (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Northwest Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Italia Novissima Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Regni Potentiss (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Portugalliae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct. (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Saxoniae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Troisieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Cinquieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Royaume de Ginganton (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte du globe Terrestre (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Deuxieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Ocean indien et mer rouge (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Aegean Sea (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Thusciae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Austriae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Silesiae Typus (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VI] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Hispaniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VIII] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Salisburgensis (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Germania (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Premiere Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IX] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Cyprus Insula (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Asiae Nova Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Ducatus Mediolanensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Sixieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer rouge et golfe persique (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1520 (1881)
The Voyages of Pedro Fernandez de Quiros Vol. 2 - Routes of Mendana 1595, Quiros 1606 and Torres 1606 (1904)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [II] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [I] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [I] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Northeastern South America (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VII] (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Daniae Regni Typus (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regionis Biturigum Limaniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Flandria (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Inde orientale (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la Grande mer (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Bohemiae Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Atlantique sud (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Turcici Imperii Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Transilvania (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [III] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [II] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Coupe de la ville de Paris (1757)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [II] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de l'ocean (1757)
Vallard Atlas - Western Europe and northwestern Africa (1547)
Vallard Atlas - North America, East Coast (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Narbonensis / Sabaundiae et Burgundiae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Neapolitani (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Descriptio Germaniae Inferioris (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Orbis Terrarum (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe centrale et meridionale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Europae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Quatrieme Projection (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Lieux (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Vindelicae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe occidentale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Partie des canibales (1555)

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