The cartography of the Caribbean, 1500–1650

  • David Buisseret


Since maps are found in almost every culture, it is very likely that the pre-Columbian peoples of the Caribbean also composed them, whether as carvings on rocks, as arrangements of sticks, or as drawings in the sand. Indeed, we know from the log of Columbus that the Lucayans were able to explain to him the position of adjacent islands by sand-drawings; later, in Europe, two of them were able to set out the general position of the islands using beans on a table. However, no material remains of this pre-Columbian map-making have yet been found, and perhaps none has survived. For practical purposes the cartography of the Caribbean begins with the arrival of Columbus.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2003

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  • David Buisseret

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