Globe Gores - Mappemonde


da Vinci, Leonardo (1452-1519)


Probably one of the smaller images of Florida is on the Leonardo da Vinci map of the world on globe gores, which dates to about 1514. That is one year after the so-called discovery and naming of Florida by Ponce de Leon. It may not have been actually drawn by him, but it is attributed to him and if one compares the size of his image with some later political delineations of the area then it probably is not the smallest. Various projections and sizes of the maps and total areas mapped must be calculated to arrive at a definite answer. However, his depiction of Florida as an island certainly conformed to Ponce de Leon's conception and that of some others.

Most people know of da Vinci as an artist and genius of his time, but few know that he drew globe gores. These gores were later redrawn on a different projection to clarify the areas shown. The island with the name "Florida" is the first use of this name on a printed map (or elliptical strips called globe gores). The name was of course based on Ponce de Leon's naming of the area which was on the Easter holiday Pasqua de Florida (Day of Flowers) which is the day that he landed on the coast. Some historians put the date as 1512 depending on whose calendar you are using. Also the date of drawing and redrawing of da Vinci's image may not be exact.


Image scanned from a reproduction in a private collection.

Reference: Tooley (2003, 2004).

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