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Conference speakers

Matthew H. Edney

Director, History of Cartography Project University of Wisconsin–Madison

Positioning the earth in the Eighteenth Century - Mapping the cosmographical and terraqueous globe. 

Archetypes of the global imaginary, world maps enable readers to “see” the earth in a manner that cannot be achieved in reality. This paper contrasts two global imaginaries, and reinterprets the supposed Enlightenment reformation of mapping as entailing not the displacement of imagination by experience but a shift in cultural dominance from one imaginary to the other.

Professor Mirela Altić

Chief research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia. Professor Altic is currently Vice-Chair of ICA Commission on the History of Cartography and President of the Society for the History of Discoveries.

The Spanish Contribution to the Exploration and Mapping of the South Pacific (1770–1775) at the Time of Captain James Cook: Knowledge Exchange in the South Sea

This paper will analyse the Spanish contribution to the exploration of the South Pacific at the time of Captain James Cook. Our interest is focused on three expeditions. The expedition of Captain Don Felipe González de Ahedo arrived on Easter Island in 1770, two years before James Cook. González claimed the island in the name of the Spanish Crown and, with the help of his navigator Juan Hervé, conducted detailed mapping of the island. The said navigator would play a key role in the next two Spanish expeditions sent to the South Pacific by the Viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amat y Junyent.

Richard Pflederer

Author and independent researcher

Magellan, the Pacific Ocean and the Search for the Anti-Meridian

For many, the key achievement of the 1519-21 voyage of Ferdinand Magellan and his fleet of five ships is embodied the fact of circumnavigation. But in fact, circumnavigation was never an objective of the Magellan-Faleiro project. The primary goal of the voyage was to establish that the Moluccas were located within the Spanish hemisphere as defined by the Treaty of Tordesillas, thus allowing Charles V to claim the mantle of Christian leader of a vast and very rich portion of the globe. Navigating the South Pacific while maintaining a detailed and accurate track of his fleet was key to this objective. By examining surviving sea charts related to the question of the longitudinal dimension of the Pacific and establishing the position of these islands, this paper aims to explain in layman’s terms the methodology and conclusions of Magellan as the great navigator he was. 

Richard A. Pegg

Richard A. Pegg is currently Director and Curator of Asian Art for the MacLean Collection, an Asian art museum and separate map library located north of Chicago Illinois.

Marco Polo and Maps of the Sixteenth Century

The Travels of Marco Polo was penned around 1298 by his prison cellmate in Genoa, Rustichello da Oisa (fl. Late 13th c). It represents the first descriptions of a European spending more than sixteen years seeing a range of countries and civilizations across Asia. The subsequent numerous editors and copyists, some 140 extent manuscripts thus far, have misspelt toponyms and modified texts in ways we can never clarify.

But of all the toponyms found in Polo’s work, it is the names Lochac (or Locach, locac, Locack, Lokok) and Beach (or Boeach) that are of particular interest in the mapping history of Terra Australis and a cause for disagreement and discussion. Did Marco Polo discover Australia in the thirteenth century? No. But a more appropriate question might be: did an editorial error in his Travels lead later explorers to look for it?

Dr Robert Clancy AM

Professor Robert Clancy has had a distinguished career as a clinical immunologist and has long been involved in historical research, particularly in the areas of medical history and cartographic history. 

The cartographic search for a Southern Pacific Ocean coastline.

This presentation follows the cartographic record of discovery, pushing the limits of the Pacific ever south to the Antarctic coastline. Milestones include Spain’s foray into the southern Pacific with voyages by Mendana (1567;1595) and de Queiros (1605); Dutch exploration south of Tierra del Feugo by Le Maire and Schouten (1616); and Cook’s circumnavigation confining any southern land to within the Antarctic Circle (1772-1775).


More to come soon.


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