The Voyages of the Treasure Fleets, 1421-3 are illustrated here using an animated flash movie. Once loaded you can view the passage of the fleets using the play button.
Use the play button to proceed through the movie viewing the journeys of Hong Boa, Zhou Man, Zhou Wen, Yang Qing and Zheng He. If you cannot see the loading screen or movie you need to download Flash.
Zheng He’s integrated map of the world, 1418
Zheng He’s 1418 map compared
This sequence of maps shows what we believe to be a chronology of Chinese map-making advances. We hope you will find this a useful introduction to the concept of evolution of Chinese perception of the world over the years.
The Waldseemüller map
The Waldseemüller map and globe, were produced in 1507 by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller. He also scripted a brief geographic thesis, Cosmographiae Introductio, in which the New World was for the first time referred to as America, so named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The map portrays the vast majority of the world today, bar the Australian mainland.
The Pizzigano Nautical Chart
The Pizzigano Nautical Chart was drawn up between 1423 and 1424 by Venetian cartographer Zuane Pizzigano. The Pizzigano map shows the coasts of Portugal, Spain, and Africa, and intriguingly it shows quite clearly, with the help of some complex translation, the islands of Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe. The Pizzigano map is currently part of the James Ford Bell collection at the University of Minnesota. Click here to view The Pizzigano Nautical Chart
The Piri Reis
Piri Reis was a famous admiral of the Turkish fleet with a penchant for cartography. The map he constructed is like a patchwork quilt: a melange of several maps, including the 1428 World Map, and was drawn on a gazelle skin in 1513. The map is not without imperfection however: the coastlines of Africa and South America are drawn with great attention to detail, however one can see that, for example, some of the Caribbean islands face in the wrong direction. The map is currently held at the Topkapi Sarai Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Click here to view The Piri Reis map
The Cantino world map
The Cantino world map, drawn by Alberto Cantino in 1502, can be found in Modena, Italy, at the Biblioteca Estense. It is arguably the earliest positively dated map of America and shows the islands of the Caribbean and the Florida coastline, as well as Africa, Europe and Asia, with considerable precision.
Fra Mauro’s Mappamundi (1459)
This map was drawn in 1459 by Fra Mauro, a cartographer based on the island of San Michele in the Venetian Lagoon, but working for Dom Pedro of Portugal. Fra Mauro has correctly drawn the Cape of Good Hope (which he had called Cap de Diab) with its easily identifiable triangular shape, and had done so 30 years before Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape. Fra Mauro says “….around the year 1420, a ship or junk [coming] from India on a non stop crossing of the Indian Ocean….was driven beyond Cap de Diab and through the Isole Verde and obscured islands towards the west and south-west for 40 days….”
The Jean Rotz map
The Jean Rotz map was drawn by esteemed cartographer Jean Rotz, the official ‘hydrographer’ to King Henry VIII. The map was incorporated into the Boke of Idrography, presented to the king in 1542. It depicts the coastlines of Africa, Asia, India and China with great accuracy, yet more surprisingly it also shows the east, west and northernmost parts of Australia, some two centuries before Cook made his ‘discovery’.
The Waldseemueller Projection
Di Virga World Map – 1410
Albertin Di Virga’s map was published in 1410. It clearly shows with great precision, the Eastern Hemisphere. Latitude and longitude are correct to an astouding degree of accuracy.
The whole world as shown on the Waldseemueller and di Virga maps
The Vinland map
The Vinland map has been the source of much controversy. The map shows Newfoundland, Labrador and Greenland with significant precision and detail. Many, however, have contested its authenticity. Despite the parchment upon which it was drawn being dated positively to between 1420 and 1440, the actual ink with which it has been sketched, upon close chemical analysis, appears to differ in anatase content from what would have been plausible in the fifteenth century. The argument surrounding the map’s legitimacy rages on.
The Martellus Map
Florida Coastline as shown on Cantino and Waldseemueller maps
These two maps clearly show the coastline of North America, published in 1507 and 1502 respectively.
Sir Humphrey Gilbert Map, 1582
The Sir Humphrey Gilbert Map of 1582 was drawn by John Dee. A contemporary letter about this map, of the Philadelphia Library, notes that Dee shows the St. Lawrence “reaching through the Great Lakes, or a great lake – the Lake of Ontario beyond the La Chine (Chinese) Rapids”
Chinese contact with Australia
This map displays the evidence that we have collected to date that shows Chinese contact in the Austalian region.
Chinese contact in British Columbia
This map displays the evidence that we have collected to date that shaows Chinese contact within the British Columbia region.
Pre-Columbian Chinese contact with North America
An interactive map of the North Eastern Seaboard of North America which displays the evidence that we have collected to date that shows pre-Columbian Chinese contact in the region. We aim to have the whole world charted in this manner by the end of the year.