The New World
Medina, Pedro de
Date of Creation:
The New World, Pedro de Medina, 1545
Nuevo Mundo, from Arte de Navigar, Valladolid, 1545. Woodcut.
Pedro de Medina’s map is one of the few early printed works composed by someone who had actually been to America, having sailed there with Hernán Cortés.
His book Arte de Navigar contained sailing directions for pilots bound for the New World, and this woodcut map. Despite its simplicity, it was a marked advance over previous published maps.
Most of the map’s remarkable accuracy comes from Medina’s being privy to official charts and news of late voyages. For
example, the map’s R. Spu. S. (Rio Spiritu Sancto), in the position of the Mississippi River, is from Hernando de Soto’s voyage of 1539-43.
This is the second Spanish printed map of the New World, after the Peter Martyr map of 1511. Like the Peter Martyr it is rare enough to suppose that its circulation was very limited even in its day. Unlike the Peter Martyr map, which was never copied, adaptations of Medina’s map were published in France and Italy into the early seventeenth century.