Map of the Indian Ocean
by the Jorge Reinel
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Map of the Indian Ocean, ca. 1519, by the Portuguese Cartographer Jorge Reinel
Mauritius is shown the first time on the Map of the Indian Ocean, ca 1519, by the Portuguese Cartographer Jorge Reinel (1502-after 1572).    

This map is part of the Lopo Homen Atlas (Also called Miller Atlas). With the onset of voyages on the open sea, coastal navigation techniques were no longer practical. It became necessary to study the stars at night and the Sun during the day to calculate the information necessary for efficient navigation. It was thus that oceanic or astronomical navigation began, and with it came a new type of nautical map which contained information on navigational aspects. It included information on latitudes of key coastal areas, on harbours, bays and capes, distances, landmarks and angles of the sun. It also described the wind and sea currents and recommended appropriate anchorage spots. In contrast to the traditional maps, the new ones did not chart entire coasts but merely the areas which had been navigated. They often included recommendations for the best sailing times or an alternative route considering the different winds and sea currents throughout the year. The french National Library is home to a collection of maps known as the Miller Atlas. Despite the misleading name, the maps are actually of Portuguese origin and attributed to Lopo Homen, the King’s official cartographer in the first decades of the XVI century (1519).

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