German researchers find rare early map of America

Jul 3, 2012, 1:19 PM

BERLIN (AP) – Researchers in Germany have chanced upon a rare early 16th century map of America by the cartographer who named the continent.

Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University said Tuesday that library staff had found a copy of the small map by Martin Waldseemueller wedged inside an unrelated 19th century book.

The 38 centimeter by 27.5 centimeter (15 inch by 10.8 inch) sheet is one of only five known copies of the map that can be folded to resemble a globe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a similar but much larger map to the United States in 2007 to mark the 500th anniversary of the naming of America.

Waldseemueller believed Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, rather than Christopher Columbus, was the first European to discover America and named the continent after him.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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German researchers find rare early map of America