This August 2022 article explains the story behind the mythical island of Frisland, which was purported to be located in the North Atlantic Ocean south of Iceland. The island was reportedly discovered by the Zeno brothers in the 14th century, and was first introduced to Europeans through a fantastical account published by a Zeno ancestor in the mid-sixteenth century. The account was accompanied by a map of Frisland and adjacent fictitious islands, which enabled these fabled islands to make their way onto some of the most famous maps of the 16th and 17th centuries.
This August 2021 article is an interview with Don McGuirk, author of "The Last Great Cartographic Myth," an authoritative online resource dedicated to the mythical Sea of the West. Don explains how he became interested in maps and the Sea of the West, how the myth first began, and how it was depicted on maps over time.
This July 2021 article tells the story of the voyages of Maarten Gerritsz de Vries and João da Gama in the region of the Kuril Islands northeast of Japan, and how their sightings of land became confused and conflated on maps for over a century.
This newsletter from October 2014 includes two articles. The first describes the history of the mythical Lake Parime and Manoa, city of gold in South America. The second article explains some of the symbolism and allegory used on antique maps.
This newsletter from August 2014 features two articles. The first explains the cartographic myth of the Mountains of the Moon in Africa. The second article outlines the map business of Nicolas Sanson and explains his complicated business partnership with map publisher Pierre Mariette.