(Susan Seubert / Smithsonian Libraries. The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology)
Novus Orbis Map
1532, Smithsonian Libraries
One of the oldest maps of the New World spurred its exploration—and exploitation
Illustrated by Hans Holbein the Younger, this map was based on narratives by Columbus, Vespucci and others. It depicts Earth as a sphere, in keeping with newly accepted ideas, although it shows the globe being turned by an angel wielding a crank. Cuba was a mainland, consistent with Columbus’ account, and the Americas were hugely underestimated—a mistake later corrected partly by explorers the map had encouraged.