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Maps of South America

One of the reasons antique maps continue to intrigue historians and art connoisseurs is the plotting of mythological places, animals, and scenarios alongside actual terrestrial features and solid historical monuments. Maps of South America are no exception. Forays into the interior of South America were fueled by the curiosity and greed of explorers like Sir Walter Raleigh, who pursued the legend of El Dorado down the Orinoco River deep into the Amazon.

John Speed’s 1626 map of America is a classic example of this feature of early European maps. Vignettes of the indigenous people of the Americas border the detailed map. The South American portion shows the mythical Lake Parimia in Guiana, a feature that characterized maps of the region for several hundred years. The mythical lake was... Read more

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