First go to www.onpointradio.org and listen to the Nov. 3, 2009, episode of On Point with Tom Ashbrook, where Toby Lester is the guest
(www.onpointradio.org/2009/11/a-new-map-the-world). Then go to TobyLester.com and play with the interactive map. You might also read Lester’s book — it’s newly out in paperback — but it’s kind of long and fact-crammed, so you should start right away.
Then go see Toby Lester at Red River Theatres, where he will talk about, and show you pictures of, the Waldseemüller map.
A thousand copies of the map were printed in 1507, and there is now one left, owned by the Library of Congress, which purchased it in 2003 for $10 million. It’s the first known European map to show the world having not three parts (Europe, Africa, Asia) but four — the New World a separate entity surrounded by water. It was devised by scholars Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann after they read about Amerigo Vespucci’s travels and, Lester writes, it was they who coined the name “America.” It was also, he says, this map that inspired Copernicus to draw new conclusions about the cosmos.