Nautical Atlas of the World, Folio 5 Recto, Southwestern Atlantic Ocean with Brazil


The map presented here is from the Miller Atlas in the collections of the National Library of France. Produced for King Manuel I of Portugal in 1519 by cartographers Pedro Reinel, his son Jorge Reinel, and Lopo Homem and miniaturist António de Holanda, the atlas contains eight maps on six loose sheets, painted on both sides. The maps were richly decorated and illuminated by António de Holanda, a Dutch native who had been in Portugal for nearly ten years. The illustrations include ornate images of castles, towns, and architectural wonders; views of forests and other vegetation; and depictions of native peoples and animals. The shapes of some towns and coastlines are quite detailed. For other parts of the world about which Europeans still had limited knowledge, geographic details are drawn from the cartographer’s imagination or informed by views that originated with Ptolemy. This map (folio 5 recto in the atlas) shows the southwestern Atlantic Ocean with Brazil; folio 5 verso is blank. The people of Brazil are shown as naked, or almost so, collecting wood or preparing for a hunt, and watched by exotic birds and beasts. A cartouche states that the Brazilians are “savage and very brutal.” The atlas takes its name from Emmanuel Miller, who purchased it in 1855 from a bookseller in Santarém, Portugal. Miller’s widow sold it to the National Library of France in 1897.

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Physical Description

1 map, 2 pages, vellum : illustrations ; 42 x 59 centimeters



  1. Catherine Hofmann, Hélène Richard, Emmanuelle Vagnon, et al., The Golden Age of Maritime Maps: When Europe Discovered the World (Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2013).

Last updated: November 29, 2017