Urbano Monte’s enormous 1587 map is a unique vision of the world as he knew it.
Bizarre, Enormous 16th-Century Map Assembled for First Time
The largest known world map of its time—made of 60 individual sheets—can finally be seen as the mapmaker intended.
This colorful and intricately detailed map from 1587 is more than nine feet by nine feet when fully assembled. For the last 430 years, its 60 individual sheets were bound together as an atlas, but now they have finally been put together—digitally—to reveal a complete picture of the world as it was understood at the time.
And what a world it was. The map is packed with fantastical creatures, from unicorns in Siberia to mermen frollicking in the Southern Ocean and a terrifying bird flying off with an elephant in its talons. The map reflects the geographical knowledge (and misconceptions) of its time, but in some ways it’s surprisingly advanced. It portrays the Earth as it would be seen looking directly