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History of Early Cartography of the Nordic Region
 
Scandinavia 1482 Northern and Central Europe 1493
The first printed map of Scandinavia 1482. From: Ptolemaios' Geographia. Ulm. One of the six so called modern maps (Tabulae modernae) from the editions of Ptolemy printed in Ulm in 1482 and 1486. Reprinted in later editions until the beginning of the 16th century. Drawn in 1468 by Nicolaus Germanus (about 1420-1489) and based on Claudius Clavus' map of Scandinavia from 1427. Hand-coloured wood-cut. From: Hartman Schedels Liber chronicarum. Nürnberg. The author of the map is Hieronymus Münzer (1437-1508) Woodcut. On this map we find traces of the world map by the marine cartographer Pietro Vesconte from the early 14th century as e.g. the leaf-like form of the Scandinavian peninsula, where Greenland is drawn as the stalk. Otherwise the shape of the peninsula has been influenced by Nicolaus Germanus and is, of course, based to a great extent on Ptolemy. The islands of the Baltic are shown in detail but the viewer gets a somewhat confused picture: Scan[d]ia is to be found west of Silandia (Danish Själland) and Gotland close to the Bay of Riga.
 
Scandinavia (Schondia) 1536 Lafreri's Copy of Carta Marina 1572
From: Terrae Sanctae quam Palestinam nominant, Syriae, Arabiae, Aegypti & Scondiae ..., by Jacob Ziegler (1471-1549). Strassburg 1536. (1st edition 1532.) Woodcut. Ziegler breaks away from the prevalent opinion by putting the main axis of Scandinavis from north to south instead of west to east, as was done previously. The function of Kölen as the water divide of the Scandinavian peninsula is clearly indicated, as also for the first time the Sea and Gulf of Bothnia (the latter with a strange extension to the east. Ziegler's map was something quite new. As a model for cartographic descriptions of Scandinavia, however, it soon got a rival in the Carta Marina by Olaus Magnus. Facsimile of Lafreri's copy in 1572 (on much reduced scale) of Carta Marina. The reduced scale meant that most of the extra information as illustrations and the short information in Latin spread out over Carta Marina was not included. This goes also for place-names. (Lafreri's original hand-coloured engraving.)
 
Scandinavia 1567 Scandinavia 1573
Map of Scandinavia from the folio edition of Olaus Magnus' Historia printed in Basel in 1567. This is what posterity regarded as the true "Carta Gothica" of Olaus Magnus until the München copy of Carta Marina was found. From: Theatrum orbis terrarum. Ed. by Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598). Engraved by Frans Hogenberg. Antwerpen. The map shows that Ortelius had knowledge of Olaus' Carta Marina. The Scandinavian peninsula is - as in many other maps - made too broad in its northern end due to the fact that the magnetic deviation was still not known. As a left-over from older cartograpy we find some imaginary islands: "Grocland" to the north of Greenland and "Frisland" in the Atlantic Sea - two of originally four islands believed to be situated around the North Pole. It is noteworthy that Ortelius shows through colouring that Northern Norway and Biarmia (the Kola peninsula) belonged to Sweden while Olaus Magnus indicated that Biarmia did not fall under Swedish sovereignty by the way he places the different national coats of arms on the Carta Marina.
 
Mercator 1595 Svecia et Norvegia Scandinavia 1613
By Gerhardus Mercator (1512-1594). From Mercators's Atlas, finally printed in 1595, the year after his death. Mercator had been working with his Scandinavian map since the 1550ths onwards, building on the information from Olaus Magnus' Carta Marina. Mercator is most known for the introduction of the cylindrical map projection in his map of the world from 1569. Though not actually the inventor of this projection he was the one to really introduce it to a wider public, to be used as a standard by others - thus it rightly bears his name. By Adrian Veen. Amsterdam. Engraved by V.S. Trautman. About ten copies are known. This map served as a prototype for the big map of Scandinavia by Bureus in 1626. It is no mere coincidence that the Bureus map of 1626 covers the same area as Veen's map of 1613.
 
Scandinavia 1626 Northern Scandinavia 1611
"Orbis arctoi nova et accurata delineatio" by Andreas Bureus (1571-1646). The final breakthrough of Swedish cartography. It became the standard model for maps of Scandinavia for the next hundred years. "Lapponiae, Bothniae etc. ... nova delineatio" by Andreas Bureus (1571-1646). Engraving. (Only two copies, our copy an earlier stage compared to the copy in the Royal Library, Stockholm, which shows the place-names for the Kola peninsula).
© Margareta Lindgren 2003
 
 
View Digital Carta Marina
Activities for Exploring Carta Marina exhibition. Harkko Museum, Raisio
Biography of Olaus Magnus
Original of Carta Marina is located at the University of Uppsala Library in Sweden