Author of the Month

The Magellan Effect (cont.)
By Doug Fisher

Pigafetta's map of the strait strays from his own logged description, opting instead for a very simplified representation which portrays the strait lying horizontal and relatively straight. The closed waterway that Pigafetta described as extending in a southeasterly direction off the strait, he chooses to depict as a very basic U-shaped bay notched and aligned vertically into the strait's southern shore. Comparing this with Schöner's 1524 globe it is clear that Schöner was very likely influenced by Pigafetta's visual depiction of the waterway as he chose a very comparable shaped bay book-ended on both sides by relatively flat coastlines while also mimicking Pigafetta's concept of a sudden vertical drop beyond the eastern end of the strait (Fig. 3).

Figure 3 - The Strait of Magellan as portrayed on Schöner's 1524 World Globe (left) alongside Antonio Pigafetta’s map of the strait rotated to a northern orientation. Based on the similarities, it seems likely that Schöner was influenced by Pigafetta’s map. While Schöner adopts a more realistic design for South America, the strait’s southern coast adopts 1) Pigafetta’s simple U-shaped design for the central bay and 2) the coastline’s sudden vertical drop at the eastern end of the strait.

Schöner's design strays slightly from Pigafetta's overall design of a horizontal southern coast by angling the bay's surrounding coastline downward, creating a coastline that more closely resembles Antarctica's Atka Bay and the surrounding Queen Maud Land. You can see the stunning resemblance this tapered coastline shares with Antarctica as we compare Antarctica with Finé’s 1531 depiction. When these two landforms are oriented similarly with Western Antarctica pointing due west (Fig. 4), Eastern Antarctica’s greater length aligns vertically and in both instances the northern coasts come to a point with the central U-shaped bay representing the northernmost point of the continent.

Figure 4 - Atka Bay, Antarctica (top), a U-shaped bay similar to Schöner's depiction in both look and location. Finé’s map (below) also features the bay. Like Schöner's depiction, Finé strays from Pigafetta's flat coastal design in favor of a coast which angles away from the bay on either side, a design which more closely resembles Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
PreviousPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Next

Site design by Amazing Internet Ltd, maintenance by Synchronicity. G+. Site privacy policy. Contact us.

Dedicated Servers and Cloud Servers by Gigenet. Invert Colour Scheme / Default