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The Magellan Effect (cont.)
By Doug Fisher

All evidence suggests that Schöner was driven by an ancient chart of Antarctica to place the whole of Western Antarctica far up into the Pacific in order to fit Siple and Carney Island to the approximate location of the Unfortunate Islands while scaling the remainder of the map so that Atka bay could also fit below the tip of South America. This actually sheds light on why Schöner, no doubt aware of the incredible hardships Magellan and his crew suffered on their journey into an immense and vacuous ocean where only two small inhospitable islands were known to exist, would suddenly feel compelled to chart a large landmass sitting a tantalizing one hundred miles south of Magellan's route. It would seem a cruel joke on his behalf unless he sincerely believed the islands were associated with a nearby landmass. An ancient map of Antarctica with a lone pair of islands lying just off one of its shores would certainly have proved compelling. It should also be considered that if Schöner merely wanted to posit the existence of a landmass beneath the two islands, it really only required appending a landmass to his previous design, instead we find him opting for an entirely new design that takes on a much more conventional design for a landform and conforms to the continent of Antarctica.

Therefore it seems likely that Schöner did indeed have access to an authentic ancient map of Antarctica. Aside from the omission of the Palmer Peninsula and the apparent lack of an ice sheet, between Schöner, Finé and Mercator we not only find accurate portrayals, but also accurate positioning and alignment of Atka Bay, the Weddell Sea, Coats Land, the Ross Sea, Ross Island, Sulzberger Bay, the Executive Committee Mountain Range, Ellsworth Mountains, the Queen Maud Mountains and now, of course, Carney and Siple Island (Fig. 7).


Figure 7 - Side by side comparison of a modern map of Antarctica with the Palmer Peninsula faded out (left) alongside Finé's map of the continent with Schöner's Unfortunate Islands added. Besides the amazing similarity in overall shape, the comparison highlights the accurate placement of several detailed components including the scaling points of Atka Bay and the island set of Carney and Siple as well as Sulzberger Bay and Ross Island.

If we accept that Schöner was referencing an ancient map of Antarctica for his 1524 globe, and acknowledge the use of Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum for his 1515 globe, then we see that the incorporation of both maps comply perfectly to the same logical methodology:

Schöner's Methodology For Cartographic Incorporation Of New Discoveries

  1. Referencing ancient maps for his template: Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum (left) and an ancient map of Antarctica (right),
  2. Reconciling the ancient maps to new discoveries: (A) Matching the British Channel to a purported strait and (B) Atka Bay to a waterway in the Strait of Magellan, and
  3. Scaling the maps to new globes via a secondary point: (C) Aligning the center of a concentric Mediterranean to the South Pole and (D) the islands of Carney and Siple to the Unfortunate Islands high in the Pacific.
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