Maps of Bermuda, Iceland, Jan Mayen Island, and Newfoundland


Vincenzo Coronelli (1650-1718) was one of the most important figures in the history of Western cartography. Although best known for his globes, he also produced numerous maps and atlases. These maps of four North Atlantic islands appear on a single plate in his Corso geografico universale (Course of universal geography), a two-volume work published in 1692. The map of “Iceland” is erroneous, and is based on a claim by the Venetian Nicolò Zeno, later discredited, that around 1380 he undertook a voyage to the northern seas where he found a large island that he called Frislandia. The map of Newfoundland (Isola di Terra Nuova) correctly notes its discovery in 1596 by John Cabot, a citizen of Venice, and his son Sebastian. Coronelli was born in Venice, the son of a tailor. He took orders as a priest and became a Minorite (Franciscan) friar. He studied in Padua and in Rome, becoming a doctor of theology at the Collegium San Bonaventura. He lived for several years in Paris, where he designed globes for Louis XIV, but spent most of his working life at the cartographic workshop he established in Venice. He held the post of Cosmographer of the Venetian Republic and founded, in 1680, the Accademia degli Argonauti, Europe’s first geographical society.

Last updated: September 18, 2015