Thepre-Columbian Discovery of the American Continent by Muslim Seafarers

In the 13th volume of the Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums (in print) the question of a possible discovery of America by Arab resp. Muslim seafarers prior to Columbus has been treated.

Thepre-Columbian Discovery of the American Continent by Muslim Seafarers

A rough delineation of the southern parts of America including the Straits, drawn up by Magellan or participants of his expedition, namely his chronicler Antonio Pigafetta, has fortunately survived in a travelogue written by the latter. It is particularly noteworthy that this map is southern-oriented, as was the Arab custom (fig. 16).

Finally, confirming my view that navigators from the Arabic-Islamic culture area knew a substantial amount of the landmasses in the Ocean, and brought home at least some cartographic sketches, is the inscription on the world map of Fra Mauro90 (fig. 2) (1459) mentioning an Arab naval expedition of the period around 1420: “Around A.D. 1420 a ship or so-called Indian junk coming from the Indian Ocean and on its way to ‘the Isles of Men and Women’ was driven beyond Cap de Diab and through the Green Islands in the Dark Ocean towards the Algarve [algarb = Arab.: the west] in the west.

For forty days they found nothing but sky and water. Making good way they covered 2000 miles according to their own estimation. After seventy days they finally returned to said Cap de Diab.”91 P. Zurla had already identified diab in Cape Diab as the Arabic word diyāb (pl. of wolf), hence one could read Cape of the Wolfs or Promontory of the Wolfs.92 To this A. von Humboldt remarked93 that a peculiar kind of wolf was indeed strikingly common on the southern extremity of Africa. In the term Dark Ocean Hennig94 justly recognised the denomination used by Arab geographers for the open sea of the Atlantic.

Being well aware of the extensive debate about possible identifications of ‘the Isles of Men and Women’ I venture to propose, not without reservation, that the Virgin Islands (of the lesser Antillas)—allegedly named after their inhabitants (11000 virgins) and apparently already on the map used by Columbus—could be meant here.95 The ‘Green Islands’ are probably the Cape Verde Islands located 24°W, 16°N off the shores of Africa. Along all of the southern part of the West-African coast they provide the most convenient harbour on a journey across the Atlantic (fig. 17). It is also noteworthy that the westerly course taken to the ‘Green Islands’ ran roughly parallel to the equator.



All this is included in the short inscription that by coincidence survived on a map made in 1457. The latter was copied from an original that also had reached Venice only by chance. Nevertheless it assumes utmost importance for our subject in connexion with other extant sources.

Even more than by reports such as these, my notion, that the maps used by European ‘discoverers’ must have been of Arabic-Islamic provenance, was reinforced by the above mentioned fact that many of the new islands and coastlines are drawn in those maps with a degree of longitudinal precision that was not approached in Europe prior to the 18th century. It has been a well known fact in the history of geography for quite a while that the difficulties with exact determinations of longitudes could not be overcome in the European culture area for such a long time. Yet the fact that the method of determining longitudes through lunar eclipses was greatly improved in the Arabic-Islamic culture area by refined observation techniques, and that new, reliable methods were developed and extensively used since the 5th/11th century, are still ignored by modern historians of geography. Even more important is the method devised by navigators of the Indian Ocean for the determination of longitudes on open sea with such accuracy that coordinates in surviving maps and tables put us in awe even today. In order to account for the exactitude of the geographical configurations of the ungraduated maps discussed above, the astonishing congruence of their coastlines with modern renditions, I do not see an alternative to assuming they were created by navigators from the Arabic-Islamic culture area, well versed in astronomy and geography.


Studying this matter we find ourselves confronted with two major issues: first, that the creative period of sciences in the Arabic-Islamic culture area which lasted for roughly eight centuries has as yet hardly been recognised by the modern historiography of this branch, let alone its importance being appreciated. Hence, the prerequisites for an assessment of the position of the Arabic–Islamic culture area in the universal history of geography are lacking to this day.

The second major issue consists in the fact that Arab geographers and map makers left only sparse and incidental information about the extensive achievements of their culture. Many important discoveries and innovations found their way into contemporary historiography too late or not at all. Apparently the Arabic-Islamic navigators and cartographers were hardly aware of the significance which the progress they achieved had for world history. Historians or chroniclers—and that is true for all culture areas—may have been in the position to judge the importance and authenticity of historic sources and to make reasonable assessments of their position in the history of science. Yet they often failed to grasp the significance of contemporary inventions and discoveries and hence passed over them in their works. What is more, separate maps stood very little chance to survive for a long time—this too applies not only to the Arabic-Islamic culture—unless they were handed down as a part of some book. The sinologist Walther Fuchs gave a very apt summary pointing out that the cartographic heritage of the Arabs was evidently fragmentary; moreover it would not always reflect the actual state of art in navigation.96 A copy of the famous world map of the Ma¸mūn geographers survived only due to its integration in an encyclopaedia written in 740/1340. The Idrīsī map (548/1154, fig. 18) survived exclusively through manuscript copies of the book version. Also the twentysix partial maps of the extremely important Javanese atlas mentioned above (seized on a captured ship by Albuquerque, the Portuguese conqueror of Malakka, who had it translated into Portuguese and sent to his king) owe their survival to the inclusion in a book.97 Finally the map of North Asia from the 7th/13th or 8th/ 14th century (fig. 8)—a document of unique significance—should be mentioned, which the Swedish officer Ph. J. Strahlenberg obtained around 1715 (while in Siberian captivity) as part of a book on the genealogy of the Turks. It became available to us through his translation or participation in it.98


Fig. 18. The world map of al-Idrīsī (549/1154). Reconstructed according to the surviving regional maps.

By the 9th/15th century cartography in the Arabic–Islamic culture area had developed (besides the progress in the survey of Asia and Europe) a more or less modern representation of the entire Indian Ocean. The standard reached at that time was the result of continuous and hard work carried out in the Islamic world from the 3rd/9th century until towards the end of the 10th/16th century. Of course it was based on the achievements of Greeks, Iranians and Indians. As early as the 1st/7th century Muslims had reached Madagascar and by the 3rd/9th century Islam had spread through large
areas of East Africa to Mozambique. In the 1st/7th century there was already a large Muslim community in the Chinese seaport Canton. As reported unequivocally by the historian al-Ya˛qūbī (died towards 290/903),99 a regular traffic between Māssa (in the south of Agadir) and China was established by the 3rd/9th century (cf. fig. 19), relying on ‘sewn’ ships (as opposed to nailed) built in Ubulla upon Tigris. This and the highly developed navigation in the area in general has so far been completely ignored by the modern history of cartography. Thus, it is little known that navigators of the Indian Ocean were able to measure distances on the open sea in all directions including parallel to the equator (fig. 6). Portuguese mariners who reached the Indian Ocean guided by existing maps found themselves dependent on the help of Muslim pilots. Vasco da Gama was awestruck by huge, oceangoing vessels, equipped with compasses and maps with grids of parallels and meridians, which he encountered on the east coast of South Africa. Thus furnished with superb maps, excellent pilots, the Jacob’s staff (cross staff, balestilha, fig. 20) that replaced the astrolabe which had proved unapt on a reeling ship’s deck, advanced nautical compasses (fig. 21), only partly digested rules of contemporary Islamic navigation, and not least the extensive tables which provided information about all kinds of distances filed after latitudes and directions, the Portuguese got to know almost the entire Indian Ocean in a short period of time. The almost perfect map of Africa that fell into the hands of the Portuguese was the fruit of work that was done in the course of several centuries.



Fig. 19 : Trading route between Māssa, south of Agadir, and China (3rd/9th cent.).

Arab navigators who, sure of their navigational skills, crossed the Indian Ocean non-stop between East Africa and Sumatra on a regular basis, would have been generally discouraged from attempts to cross the Atlantic because they knew the true distance between West Africa and China (as deduced from the astronomically determined circumference of the earth). On the other hand considering the currents in the Atlantic and the dense traffic around Africa it is very likely that in the course of the centuries ships drifted across the Atlantic time and time again. At any rate the Brazilian coast and some of the Caribbean islands appear to have been known. The reports about Islamic expeditions mentioned above also support this view. Unfortunately the currently available sources do not permit any further conclusions. Columbus however substantially underestimated the distance across the Atlantic even though he doubtless knew from Arabic–Islamic sources that one equatorial degree equals 56²⁄³ miles. Confusion between Arabic and Italian miles and the notion that the western hemisphere of the earth was not indeed spherical but drawn out like a pear towards the South (based upon some misapprehension) 100 might have caused this error. Anyway, he reckoned with 70° rather than 220° and apparently still believed on his fourth and last journey that he had reached Asia.



Fig. 20 . Jacob’s staff (balistilha) and an instrument used by the navigators in the Indian Ocean for the same purpose, the measuring of the altitude of celestial bodies. Below left a sketch illustrating the use of the latter.



Fig. 21 . Mariner’s compasses, as used by navigators in the Indian Ocean.


Let me conclude with a brief review of the matter discussed above: there is historic evidence that Muslims resp. Arabs tried repeatedly to travel westwards across the Ocean from the first half of the 4th/10th century on, at first from Portuguese and later from West African harbours. The aim was quite often defined as reaching “the [opposite] end of the Ocean”. Based on our knowledge of the cartographic achievements and the remarkably advanced navigation in the Arabic-Islamic culture area along with the cartographic materials mostly surviving in European copies, I arrive at the considered opinion that it must have been Muslim navigators who had not only reached the new oceanic continent certainly by the beginning of the 9th/15th century but even started to survey it. The passage from Fra Mauro already quoted above (p. 6, 31) in which he states (in the year 1457) that in 1420 a ship coming from the Indian Ocean had passed the Cape of Good Hope and travelled via the Cape Verde Islands apparently on course to the ‘Isles of Men and Women’ in the Caribbean and back to the Cape of Good Hope, implies at least that this route was already known in 1420 and that reports about these activities had reached Venice by 1457. Also, the documents I have quoted above as examples of pre-Columbian cartographic representations of the region must have taken a long time to generate, judged by the exactitude of the geographic coordinates, the area covered and the numerous details included. Amongst the extant cartographic documents the map of the Atlantic (fig. 4) by Pīrī Re¸īs101 seems to be the most exhaustive and important. Contrary to the conventional wisdom concerning its derivation it is probably based on the Italian version of an Arabic original which had been sent in the year 1474 by the Florentine Paolo Toscanelli to the Canonicus Fernam Martins in Lisbon. Columbus had a copy of this map in his possession.102

Paul Kahle’s theory that a Spaniard, who had participated in the first three voyages of Columbus, carried a map (which was made by the latter, showing the parts of the American islands and mainland that had been explored) when he was captured by Ottomans in 1501103 which was subsequently delivered to Pīrī Re¸īs involves quite a stretch of the imagination. I find it more likely that a map also comprising the southern areas, possibly including additions and corrections by Columbus and circulating in several copies, reached the Ottomans. Pīrī Re¸īs himself states in one of the inscriptions on his map that he had taken the western part of his world map from the Columbus map104 and specifies in another inscription that he had adopted the coastlines and islands in the western part of his world map from the said original.105 As far as I am concerned this leaves no room for speculations that only the northern part of the Atlantic region was based on the “Columbus map” while the southern part had to be derived from other, supposedly Portuguese, originals. This map bearing the name of Columbus is indeed quite different from the sketch which was drawn upon repeated demands of the Spanish crown by Columbus’ brother Bartoloméo who had participated only in the first and the last voyage with the former. Besides various errors and confusions and the fact that the new landmasses are designated as the East Coast of Asia, the most remarkable thing about this sketch is how small Columbus and his companions had conceived the distance between Asia and Europe-Africa (fig. 22).

This context brings about yet another question, namely about the landmass delineated on the Pīrī Re¸īs map south of the American continent extending eastwards. According to my former interpretation I was inclined to see this as a relic of the Ptolemean concept of the oceans being enclosed by continents. After continued study of this matter I am now considering whether this might rather be a trace of an early, however fleeting contact with the Antarctic. The Dominican missionary Guillaume Adam who lived in the Islamic World between 1305 and 1314, during which time he spent twenty months travelling in the southern parts of the Indian Ocean, made a note at one of his stations situated Lat. 23° South of the equator (apparently on the East-African coast) that merchant vessels embarking at this port used to sail southwards up to a position “where the altitude of the South Pole is 54°” i.e. they advanced very far in the southern hemisphere.106 This is confirmed by the Italian geographer Livio Sanuto (1588) who reported that the Arabs travelled from Zanzibar on target for the Antarctic and thus passed the Cape of Good Hope.107



Fig. 22 . Sketch by Bartoloméo Colombo (1503).


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1 Bantam Press, London – New York – Toronto– Sidney – Auckland.
2 1421. The Year China Discovered The World, l.c. pp. 29-31,
3 Ibid, p. 31.
4 The Nautical Charts of 1424, l.c. p. 109.
5 Vol. II, Coimbra 1971, pp. 125–139. “The more I study the subject, taking into consideration the various criticisms of my book of 1954, the more convinced I am that the Antilla group of Islands in Zuane Pizzigano’s chart of 1424 represents for the first time some undetermined American land sighted during an unknown Portugese voyage to the western Atlantic” (p. 139).
6 Vol. I, 1987, pp. 371–458, esp. 410–411; Campbell’s contribution is entitled: Portolan Charts from the Late Thirteenth Century to 1500.
7 1421. The Year China Discovered The World, l.c. p. 31.
8 Ibid, p. 33.
9 Ibid, p. 34.
10 Ibid, pp. 36–37.
11 Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. III, Cambridge – London – New York – Melbourne 1959, p. 558.
12 Ibid, vol. IV, 3, 1971, p. 490; Louis Levathes, When China ruled the Seas. The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne 1405–1433, New York 1994.
13 Cf. J. Needham, l.c. vol. III, p. 959, vol. IV, 3, pp. 425, 493.
14 The Seaports of India and Cylon, described by Chinese Voyagers of the Fifteenth Century, together with an account of Chinese navigation, in: Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (London) 20/1885/209–226, esp. 218f.; idem, Seeports… Navigation from Sumatra to China, Ibid 21/1886, 30–42; see also: F. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, Vol. XI, p. 333.
15 F. Sezgin, GAS XI, 333.
16 Monumenta Cartographica Africae et Aegyptii, Leiden 1926–52, vol. IV, p. 1415 (reprint VI, 170–171). Fig. 2. World map by Fra Mauro (1459).
17 G. Menzies, l.c. p. 38.
18 Menzies (l.c. p. 122) quotes the translation by Needham (vol. IV, 3, p. 572); I follow the German translation in Terrae incognitae by Richard Hennig, vol. IV, Leiden 1944–1956, p. 44.
19 Menzies, l.c. pp. 115ff., 122f.
20 Fr. Kunstmann, Kenntnis Indiens im 15. Jahrhundert, München 1863; O. Peschels Geschichte der Erdkunde bis auf Alexander von Humboldt und Carl Ritter, München (2nd edt.) 1877, pp. 182–184; R. Hennig, Terrae incognitae,
4 vols., Leiden 1944–56, here vol. IV, pp. 33–34.
21 G. Menzies, l.c., p. 127.
22 Ibid p. 128.
23 Drei neue Versionen der chinesisch-koreanischen Weltkarte von 1402, in: Studia Sino- Altaica, Festschrift für Erich Haenisch zum 80. Geburtstag, edt. by H. Franke, Wiesbaden 1961, pp. 75–77.
24 Science and Civilisation in China, vol. III, l.c., p. 555f.; F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. X, p. 323.
25 cf. Sezgin, GAS, vol. X, p. 312; cf. Kuei-Sheng Chang, Africa and the Indian Ocean. Chinese maps of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in: Imago Mundi 23/1970/21–30.
26 1421. The Year China Discovered The World, l.c. p. 137.
27 Tratado dos descobrimentos, Terceira edição, Porto 1944, pp. 122–123; The Discoveries of the World, from their first original unto the year of our Lord 1555 by Antonio Galvano, Gouvernor of Ternate, London 1601, new edition with Portuguese text. Ibid 1862, pp. 66–67. cf. GAS, vol. XI, p. 358.
28 G. Menzies, 1421. The Year China Discovered The World, l.c. p. 137f.
29 Géographie du moyen age, vol. II, Brüssel 1852–1857, p. 83, note 172.
30 G. Menzies, 1421. The Year China Discovered The World, l.c. p. 140.
31 G. Menzies, 1421. The Year China Discovered The World, l.c. p. 375f..
32 Ibid.
33 Ibid.
34 Ibid. Interestingly, this passage has been omitted in the second English edition (l.c., p. 377).
35 Cf. F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. XI, pp. 419-426, vol. XII, pp. 318–333.
36 G. Menzies, 1421. The Year China Discovered The World, l.c. pp. 238, 356.
37 Cf. F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. XI, p. 80f.
38 Ibid, vol. X, p. 357, 477, 570; vol. XI, pp. 87, 94, 346; vol. XII, p. 155.
39 G. Menzies, 1421. The Year China Discovered The World, l.c. p. 312 in 1st edt.
40 Cf. F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. XII, map no. 107,p. 173.
41 G. Menzies, 1421…, l.c. pp. 345–356;.
42 Ibid p. 350.
43 Ibid, p. 352;
44 Ibid, p. 349.
45 First Engl. edit. p. 407f. Omitted in the second Engl. edition.
46 Vol. I–III, Philadelphia 1920–1922. 47 New York 1976.
48 Cf. F. Sezgin, GAS, Vol. X, p. 127.
49 Ibid, p. 128; al-Bīrūnī, Tahqīq mā li-l-Hind, Ed. E. Sachau, London 1887; reprint: Islamic Geography vol. 105; engl. transl. Von E. Sachau, London 1910; reprint: Islamic Geography vol. 106–107.
50 Murū gˇ ad--d- ahab wa-ma˛ādin al-gˇawāhir, vol. I, Paris 1861, pp. 257–259; Abū ˛Abdallāh al-H. imyarī, K. ar-Raud. al-mi˛.tār fī h˘abar alaqt. ār, Ed. Ih. sān ˛Abbās, Beirut 1975, p. 509; H. J. Olbrich, Die Entdeckung der Kanaren vom 9. bis zum 14. Jh.: Araber, Genuesen, Portugiesen, Spanier, in: Almogaren (Graz) 20/ 1989/60–138, esp. 64.
51 Al-Idrīsī, Nuzhat al muštāq fi h˘tirāq alaflāq, Vol. I, pp. 220–548; Julius Klaproth, Ueber die Schiffahrten der Araber in das Atlantische Meer, in: Asiatisches Magazin (Weimar) 1/1802/138–148 (reprint in: Islamic Geography, Frankfurt 1994, Vol. 237, pp. 47–51); R. Hennig, Terrae incognitae, Vol. II, pp. 424–432; F. Sezgin, Wissenschaft und Technik im Islam, Vol. I, Einführung, Frankfurt 2003, p. 173.
52 Ibn Fad. lallāh al-˛Umarī, Masālik alabs. ār facsimile edition, vol. IV, Frankfurt 1988, p. 43; French transl. in: M. Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Masālik el abs.ār, vol.I: L’Afrique, moins l’Égypte…, Paris, 1927(Reprint in: Islamic Geography, vol. 142), p.74 f ; cf. al-Qalqašandī, S. ubh. al-a˛šā, vol. V, Kairo 1915, p. 294f.; A. Zéki Pacha, Une seconde tentative des Musulmans pour décou vrir l’Amérique, in: Bulletin de l’Institut d’Égypte (Kairo) 2/1919–1920/57–59, reprint in: Islamic Geography Band 239, pp. 44–46; Egmont Zechlin, Das Problem der vorkolumbischen Entdeckung Amerikas…, in: Historische Zeitschrift (München) 152/
1935/1–47, esp. 46; R. Hennig, Terrae incognitae, vol. III, pp. 161–165; Basil Davidson, The Lost Cities of Africa, Boston, Toronto, 1970, pp. 74–76 (not seen), v.a. Ivan van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus, l.c., p. 67, 70.
53 Mu-lan-p’i. A case for pre-Columbian transatlantic travel by Arab ships, in: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 23/1960– 1961/114–126. The two Chinese books were translated into English by Friedrich Hirth and W.W. Rockhill, Chau Ju-Kua: His Work on the Chinese and Arab Trade in the 12th and 13th Centuries, entitled ‹Chu-Fan-Chi›, translated from the Chinese and annotated, St. Petersburg 1911 (reprint in: The Islamic World in Foreign Travel Accounts, Vol. 73), v. a. F. Hirth, Chao Ju-Kua, a new source of mediaeval geography, in: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (London) 1896, pp. 57– 82 (reprint: The Islamic World in Foreign Travel Accounts, Vol. 74, pp. 299–324).
54 P. Kahle, Un mapa de América hecho por el turco Piri Re’îs, en el año 1513, bésandose en un mapa de Colón y en mapas portugueses. In: Investigacion y Progreso, Anno V (1931)/12/ 169–172.
55 P. Kahle, Die verschollene Columbus-Karte von 1498 in einer türkischen Weltkarte von 1513. Berlin and Leipzig 1933 (repr. in: Islamic Geography, vol. 22, pp. 165–225).
56 Ibid p. 180 ff.
57 Die verschollene Columbus-Karte von Amerika vom Jahr 1498 in einer türkischen Weltkarte von 1513, in: Forschung und Fortschritte(Berlin) 8/1932/248–249, esp. p. 248 f (reprint in: Islamic Geography, vol. 22, pp. 162–163, esp. 162).
58 Ibid, p. 10f.
59 Un amiral, géographe turc du xvie siècle. Piri Reis, auteur de la plus ancienne carte de l’Amérique, in: Belleten (Ankara) 1/1937/333–349 (reprint in: Islamic Geography, vol. 22, pp.288–308).
60 Ibid p. 347 (reprint, p. 302).
61 Portugaliae Monumenta Cartographica, vol. I, 1960, p. 13ff; F. Sezgin, GAS, Vol. XII,p. 270.
62 Portugaliae Monumenta Cartographica,vol. I, p. 10f.
63 See F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. XII, Karte 190, p. 269. In its colophon the map is dated: “Juan de la Cosa la fizo en Puerto de S.Ma en año de 1500”, cf. George E. Nunn, The Mappemonde of Juan de la Cosa. A critical investigation of its date. Jenkintown 1934, p. 1.
64 Ibid, p. 51f.
65 L.c., p. 327f.
66 Cf. GAS, vol. XII, map 198 a–z.
67 Ibid, vol. XI, p. 410–413.
68 A propos d’une carte javanaise du XVe siècle in: Journal Asiatique 11ème sér. 12/1918/158–169, esp. 166 (Reprint in: Islamic Geography, vol. 21, p. 1–12, esp. p. 9); cf. F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. XI, p. 441.
69 GAS, vol. XI, p. 441.
70 Cf. O. Peschel, Geschichte der Erdkunde, p. 401; Hermann Wagner, Die Entwicklung der wissenschaftlichen Nautik des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen nach neuern Anschauungen, in: Annalen der Hydrographie und maritimen Meteorologie (Berlin) 46/1918/105–118, 153–173, 215–233, 276–283, esp. 277; see also F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. XI, p. 296.
71 H. Wagner, Die Entwicklung der wissenschaftlichen Nautik, l.c., p. 277.
72 Arthur Breusing, Zur Geschichte der Kartographie. La toleta de Marteloio und die loxodromischen Karten. In: Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Geographie (Weimar) 2/ 1881/129-195, esp. p. 193; F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. XI, p. 98.
73 Cf. H. Wagner, Entwicklung der wissenschaftlichenNautik, l.c., p. 282.
74 Cf. F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. XI, p. 286.
75 Portugaliae Monumenta Cartographica,vol. I, p. 24.
76 Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, in: Coleccion de Documentos inéditos para la Historia de España, vol. 62–66, Madrid 1875–76, esp.vol. 2, p. 278; P. Kahle, Die verschollene Columbus-Karte, l.c., p. 26 (reprint, l.c., p. 190).
77 Die verschollene Columbus-Karte, l.c., p.21, 40f (reprint, l.c., p. 185, 204f).
78 Raccolta di documenti e studi pubblicati dalla R. Commissione Colombiana… (Joaquim Bensaude, Ed.), Rom 1892–1894, vol. I/1, p. 31;P. Kahle, l.c., p. 26 (reprint, l.c., p. 150)
79 Raccolta Columbiana, I, p. 10. p. Kahle,l.c., p. 37 (reprint p. 201).
80 Cf. F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. XI, l.c., p. 66ff.
81 Las Casas, Historias de las Indias, vol. I, l.c., p. 279; P. Kahle, Die verschollene Columbus- Karte, l.c., p. 40f (reprint., l.c., p. 204f).
82 Terceira edição, Porto 1944, p. 122f.; cf. GAS, vol. XI, l.c., p. 358;
83 The first author who called attention to this text was probably Placido Zurla, Il mappamondo di Fra Mauro, Venice 1806, p. 86; cf. von Humboldt, Kritische Untersuchungen, l.c., p. 255, 286 (refers to p. 7, 86, 87, 143); Humboldt (l.c., p. 287) wondered: “How could theinclusion of an American strait in a Portuguese map predating Magellan’s travels be explained?” He answered himself: “I would like to refer to the circumstances which might have pointed to the existence of a strait; and it is well known that in the Middle Ages speculations were religiously incorporated in the maps as was the case with Antilia…”. To this I would like to remark that Humboldt appears to presume that the map in question was originally from Portugal. Yet according to my reading this was the very map which Dom Pedro had procured on his travels in the Arabic-Islamic culture area. The fact that the Cape of Good Hope was apparently also delineated in this map should be kept in view.
84 Géographie du moyen Âge, vol. II, Bruxelles,1850–1857, p. 83, note. 177.
85 Anton Pigafetta’s Beschreibung der von Magellan unternommenen ersten Reise um die Welt. Aus einer Handschrift der ambrosianischen Bibliothek zu Mailand von Amoretti zum erstenmale herausgegeben. Translated from the French, Gotha 1801, p. 45f; Gian Battista Ramusio, Delle Navigationi et Viaggi. Venice 1563–1606, Reprint: Amsterdam, 1968-1970, vol. I, p. 354b; Magellan’s Voyage. A narrative account of the first circumnavigation by Antonio Pigafetta, vol. I, translated and edited by R. A. Skelton…, New Haven, London 1969, p. 51; vol. II, (facsimile) p. 17.
86 Joh. Christoph Wagenseil, Sacra parentalia quae manibus… Frid. Behaimi, Nürnberg 1682, p. 16 (not seen).
87 Cf. R. Hennig, Terrae incognitae, vol. IV,p. 394.
88 A. von Humboldt, Kritische Untersuchungen…,Vol. I, Berlin 1836, pp. 255, 277–308.
89 Vol. IV, pp. 390–418, esp. 414f; cf. O. Peschel, Geschichte der Erdkunde, p. 277f; Siegmund Günther, Martin Behaim, Bamberg 1890, p. 43; Johannes Willers, Leben und Werk des Martin Behaim, in: Focus Behaim Globus, vol. I, Nürnberg 1993, pp. 173–188, esp. 183; Ernest George Ravenstein, Martin Behaim, His Life and His Globe, London 1908, pp. 34–38.
90 Cf. GAS, vol. X, pp. 554–558; XII, map 63, p. 122. Fig. 17 . Sailing lines across the Atlantic (ca. 1420).
91 R. Hennig, Terrae incognitae, vol. IV, p. 44; for the original text cf. Il mappamondo di Fra Mauro Comaldolese. Descritto ed illustrato da Placido Zurla, Venice 1806 (cf. note 83 above).
92 Zurla, l.c., p. 86.
93 Kritische Untersuchungen, vol. I, p. 280f.
94 Terrae incognitae, vol. IV, p. 48f.
95 P. Kahle, Die verschollene Columbus-Karte,l.c., p. 22f, (reprint, l.c., p. 186f).
96 Walther Fuchs, Was South Africa already known in the 13th century? In: Imago Mundi10/1953/Sp. 50 a, b; F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. X, p. 324.
97 Cf. ibid, vol. XI, p. 327f., 427f.
98 Ibid, vol. X, p. 378 ff.
99 K. al-Buldān, Leiden 1892, p. 360…, F. Sezgin, GAS, vol. X, p. 562, XI, p. 383f.
100 Cf. GAS, vol. X, p. 219.
101 Cf. GAS, vol. XII, map 39, p. 78.
102 Cf. P. Kahle, Die verschollene Columbus-Karte, pp. 40–42 (reprint l.c., pp. 202–204).
103 Ibid, pp. 15, 35, 48 (reprint pp. 179, 199,212).
104 Ibid, p. 14 (reprint p. 178).
105 Ibid.
106 Cf. GAS, vol. XI, p. 386.
107 Ibid, p. 387.

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