Riding the wave


The Sixteenth

The years between 1538 and 1541 atlases dating instead of water João de Castro, the 13th governor and viceroy of India and the 4th highest hydrographer of his time.

Pupil of the mathematician Pedro Nunes, calculated the magnetic declination and operated correct determinations of longitude, which rarely deviate by more than 10 'from those of today.

His is the roteiro Primeiro da Costa da India desde Goa até God telling a viagem que fez or Vice - Rei D. Garcia de Noronha ... 1538-39, equipped with 16 ports between floors and views of the coast .

The manuscript, published by Diogo Köpke in Oporto in 1843, is preserved at the British Museum where it was damaged by fire in 1731. Seems to have belonged to Sir Walter Raleigh who had it translated into English. Was later published as reduced by Purchas in 1625 by Antonio Matheus - in Latin - in Veteris Aevi Analecta (2nd ed., Haga Comitum 1738), and French by Antoine François Prévost in Histoire générale de voyages, ou nouvelle collection de toutes les relations des voyages par mer et par terre ont été publiées jusq'au here this ... (12 vol., Paris 1747-1754).

João de Castro is also the author of roteiro de Lisboa in Goa, 1538, published by João de Andrade Corvo in Lisbon in 1882, and at the same roteiro en que se a viagem que fizeram os portuguezes not years from 1541, Nobre partindo by Cidade de Goa até Soez, published in Paris in 1833 by Antonio Nunes de Carvalho.

Samples of these works are now preserved at the Biblioteca Nazionale in Lisbon and Collections at the James Ford Bell of Minneapolis and the production of cartographic J. de Castro has been reproduced in Monumenta Portugaliae Cartographic, published in Lisbon by Armando and Avelino Cortesão Tixeira by Mota in 1960, in the fifth centenary of the death of Henry the Navigator.

J. de Castro. Cifardarm

Prolific cartographers were the Homen, active throughout the 1500 - considered the most important exponents of Renaissance Portuguese map by virtue of more than twenty documents handed down to us - who also left the country and settled first in London and then finally to Venice.

The coasts of Asia to Japan but were detected by Fernão Vaz Dourado that, in 1571, produced an atlas reissued and used throughout the following century.

An interesting paper, anonymous and undated but attributed the mid-century Portuguese and certainly represents the Atlantic with the usual characteristics of cartography at the time. A new element is a latitude scale NNE-SSW tilted in the area of Newfoundland, which gives the value of magnetic declination in an area highly sensitive to terrestrial magnetism. In South America is traced, albeit roughly, the course of the Rio das Gramde Allmazonas, explored by Orellana, companion of Pizarro, who said she discovered a city, inhabited only by fierce warrior women, hence the name River.

Typical nautical decor is the paper of Gaspar Viegas, only known document of this cartographer, of which there has been no news. And 'signed and dated 1534, and ignores the interior of the territory, while the present topography perpendicular to the coastline, grating lines of the usual route, roses winds and distance scale, while the Portuguese flag appears on the territories under the influence of Portugal.

Gaspar Viegas, 1534. Parchment paper, 700x960 mm
(Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France)
Rare examples of Portuguese maps are located at the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California , who placed online images in 1:1 ratio.

The maps are reproduced in Coasts of the World in European cartography :1500-1900 , (179 p., about 300 images), by Priuli & Verlucca, publishers , Ivrea, 2000.)