The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, February 06, 1902, Page 8, Image 8

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The time mid circumstances of the
* I first appenrauco of the word ' ' Amer
? ] ica" on a geographical chart consti
tuted a mooted and much combated
question among the students of cosmog
raphy aud chartography. The cable
lately reported from Germany the uii-
earthing of the long missed and much
limited for world-maps of Waldsee-
mnellor , printed in the years 1507 aud
1516. This ended and decided the con
troversy. But before we consider this
important discovery , the reader will
kindly permit a small digression.
Well known is the Pre-Columbian
discovery of' ' America" ' by the North
men. "Eric the Red" coining from
Iceland , set foot on the soil of Green-
laud in the tenth century , and later on
his sou , "Leif the Lucky , " visited the
coast of the North American continent ,
starting from what we call Labrador
today , and going south as far as the
region between Boston and Now York ,
where the Northmen established a set
tlement , called "Vinland. "
Stones , inscribed with runes , after
the fashion of the old Germanic peoples
ples , are yet in existence , silent wit
nesses of ancient times , telling the
tale of a misty past. The Northmen ,
a semi-barbaric people , and living in
remote regions , had but little com
munication with other folks , or none
at all ; thus it happened that neither
the more erudite aud cultured nations
of southern Europe , nor geographical
science profited by the exploits of
those bold adventurers.
In Columbus we justly recognize
nowadays the true discoverer of the
new world , but fate denied to him the
honor of being its sponsor. Not a
writer himself , ho was unfortunate in
not finding a ready and capable narrator
rater of his exploits. And as news
traveled slow in those days and truth
still slower , Columbus received but
small recognition among his contem
poraries outside of Spain and Portugal.
Amerigo Vespucci.
There is no historic evidence that
Amerigo Vespucci , a learned Italian
merchant and cosmograph , who made
several voyages to the new world ,
which afterwards bore his name ,
aspired to this honor , but ho was
lucky enough to possess numerous aud
influential friends and admirers , who
advocated his cause , thus temporarily
obscuring the merits of Columbus and
the priority of. his claims. So it came
to pass that Martin Waldseemueller
( this appellation means' ' the miller by
the lake of the woods" ) , a Gorman
bookseller , writer and chartographer ,
who called himself often' ' Ilacomilus' '
grecizing his name after the manner
of the Humanists and the usage of the
times , became much impressed with
the exploits of Amerigo. Ho translat
ed in the year 1507 a French account
of Amerigo's travels into the Latin
language. This book , " Cosmograph-
iae Introductio , " appeared in four
editions aud gained great circulation
and influence , spreading Amerigo's
fame and name far aud wide.
Waldseeinuoller also proposed the
name ' ' America , ' ' inscribing it upon
the map of the world designed by him
in the same year.
The "New York Staatszeituug" tells
in an interesting German correspond
ence how those two valuable charts
wore recovered , after they had been
missing for centuries. I take the
liberty of quoting from said paper in
free translation :
"Professor Dr. von Wieser of the
Innsbruck University , who not long
ago instituted a search for Waldsee-
mueller's great world-maps of 1507
and 1516 , and succeeded to find Waid-
soemuellor's less '
important 'Carta
itiueraria Europae , ' 1511 , announces
now that his co-scholar and former
student , Professor Joseph Fischer , has
unearthed the two missing charts.
Fischer is interested in the voyages of
the Northmen to the North American
coast. During his search for some old
maps of Greenland he had the good
luck to find Waldseemueller's two
great charts in an old aud dusty folio
belonging to the magnificent library
of Prince Waldburg at Wolfegg , in
Charts of 1507 and 1516.
"Both maps are xylographs. The
one of 1507 is inscribed 'Univorsalis
Cosmographia secundum Ptolomaei
traditionem et Americi Vespucii alio-
rumquo illustrationes. ' It bears art
istic vignettes of Ptolemaeus aud
Amerigo Vespucci , and the word
'America' appears immediately over
the Tropic of the Capricorn.
' ' German savants , stimulated by the
investigations and example of the
great Alexander von Humboldt , have
recovered many old charts inscribed
with the name 'America' , butWald-
seemueller's map of 1507 is undoubted
ly the first and oldest printed chart
showing the now continent and con
ferring upon it the name ' America. '
Waldseemueller dropped this word in
his second world-map , the 'Carta
Marina , ' 1516 , also found by'JFischer ,
because during the interval of nine
years the true version of affairs gained
ground , and Columbus had finally been
accepted as the real discoverer of the
new world.
Too Late.
"But it was too late ! A lasting
impression had been produced by
the thousand copies of the chart of
1507 with the accompanying 'Cosmo-
graphiae Introducio. ' The magic word
' America' had como to stay ! Wald-
seemuoller's great chartographio mon
ument has awakened much interest
among students and laymen on ac
count of its deep and abiding influ
ence upon the minds of Columbus'
contemporaries and its far-reaching
"Prince Waldburg , who takes great
pride in the possession of the two in
valuable charts , has already given
permission for their reproduction and
publication ; this will be done under
the supervision of Wieser and
Fischer. ' '
The reprint of these maps , especi
ally the one of 1507 conferring and
establishing the name "America" up
on our continent , will be heartily
welcomed and much valued in this
country. This is one of the few iu-
tances where the quiet and patient
labors of the men of abstract science ,
who far removed from the noise of the
market , the chase after the dollar and
the tumultuous arena of politics , work
aud strive for the advancement of
knowledge and scientific truth , find
a ready appreciation with the general
public. E. W. S.
An advance copy of the Classification
Book for the Louisiana Purchase Expo
sition at St. Louis in 1903 , has been re
ceived. Fifty-three pages are required
for a mere enumeration of the groups
and classes of exhibits. The exhibits of
the entire exposition are divided into
fifteen departments , as follows : Edu
cation , eight groups ; art , six groups ;
liberal arts , thirteen groups ; manu
facturers , thirty-four groups ; transpor
tation , six groups ; agriculture , twenty-
seven groups ; horticulture , seven
groups ; forestry , three groups ; mining
and metallurgy , five groups ; anthropo
logy , four groups ; social economy ,
thirteen groups ; physical culture , three
groups. The total shows 144 groups
and 807 classes , and under each class is
a possibility for a multitude of exhibits.
Nothing reflects more clearly in so small
a space , the variety of human occupa
tions , or more comprehensively the
broad scope of the great exposition
which the people of St. Louis are pre
paring for next year. A. place is pro
vided for every conceivable .product
worthy of exhibition , and all nat
ions of the world have been invited to
take part. Acceptances have been re
ceived from many. The work of con
struction is progressing earnestly. The
buildings will have an aggregate floor
space of 200 acres , and the grounds a
total area of 1,000 acres. The money
now available aggregates $15,000,000 ,
besides $1,000,000 appropriated by the
state of Missouri , and various liberal
sums from other states. The classifica
tion and the rules and regulations of the
exposition will be mailed free on appli
cation to the Director of Exhibits ,
World's Fair , St. Louis.