The Strait of Anián was a semi-mythical strait, documented from around 1560, that was believed by early modern cartographers to mark the boundary between North America and Asia and to permit access to a Northwest Passage from the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific. The true strait was discovered in 1728 and became known as the Bering Strait. The Strait of Anián had been generally placed nearby but sometimes appeared as far south as California.
North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere; it is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.
The Northwest Passage (NWP) is, from the European and northern Atlantic point of view, the sea route to the Pacific Ocean through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The eastern route along the Arctic coasts of Norway and Siberia is accordingly called the Northeast Passage (NEP).
The source of this idea is unknown. The Martin Waldseemüller map of 1506 or 1507 shows America and Asia separated. A 1562 map by Paolo Forlani shows Asia and North America joined north of about the latitude of San Diego. The strait probably took its name from Ania, a Chinese province mentioned in a 1559 edition of Marco Polo's book. The name probably first appeared on a map issued by the Italian cartographer Giacomo Gastaldi in 1562.It appeared on maps by Abraham Ortelius (1564), Bolognini Zaltieri (1567) and Gerardus Mercator (1567). The Zaltieri and Gastaldi maps show it narrow and crooked. Gastaldi and Ortelius have an "Ania" or "Anian" on the east side of the strait. A speculative map of 1578 shows Frobisher Strait extending all the way across Canada and ending at the Strait of Anian. Juan de Fuca, a Greek navigator, sailed in a Spanish expedition in 1592 to seek the fabled Strait of Anián. A 1719 map by Herman Moll shows the strait as a probable bay at 50° North, north of the Island of California. The 1726 edition of a map by Johannes van Keulen shows the strait north of the Island of California with the note that 'they say that one can come through this strait to Hudson Bay, but this is not proven.'
Martin Waldseemüller was a German cartographer.
Marco Polo was an Italian merchant, explorer, and writer, born in the Republic of Venice. His travels are recorded in Livre des merveilles du monde, a book that described to Europeans the wealth and great size of China, its capital Peking, and other Asian cities and countries.
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.
For related concepts see Early knowledge of the Pacific Northwest. For more early maps see Shangdu (Xanadu) and Cathay.
The Pacific Northwest coast of North America was one of the last coastlines reached by European explorers. In terms of sailing time from Europe, it was one of the most distant places on earth. This article covers what Europeans knew or thought they knew before the area was explored by Captain Cook in 1778.
Shangdu, also known as Xanadu, was the capital of Kublai Khan's Yuan dynasty in China, before he decided to move his throne to the Jin dynasty capital of Zhōngdū, which he renamed Khanbaliq, present-day Beijing. Shangdu then became his summer capital. It is located in the present-day Zhenglan Banner, in Inner Mongolia, China.
Cathay is an alternative historical name for China in English. During the early modern period Europeans thought of Cathay as a completely separate and distinct culture from China. As knowledge of East Asia increased, Cathay came to be seen as the same nation as China and the term '"Cathay" became a poetic name for the nation.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.
The Strait of Juan de Fuca is a large body of water about 154 kilometres (96 mi) long that is the Salish Sea's outlet to the Pacific Ocean. The international boundary between Canada and the United States runs down the center of the Strait.
The Bering Strait is a strait of the Pacific, which separates Russia and Alaska slightly south of the Arctic Circle at about 65° 40' N latitude. The present Russia-US east-west boundary is at 168° 58' 37" W. The Strait is named after Vitus Bering, an explorer in the service of the Russian Empire.
Victoria Island is a large island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago that straddles the boundary between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories of Canada. It is the eighth largest island in the world, and at 217,291 km2 (83,897 sq mi) in area, it is Canada's second largest island. It is nearly double the size of Newfoundland (111,390 km2 [43,008 sq mi]), and is slightly larger than the island of Great Britain (209,331 km2 [80,823 sq mi]) but smaller than Honshu (225,800 km2 [87,182 sq mi]). It contains the world's largest island within an island within an island. The western third of the island belongs to the Inuvik Region in the Northwest Territories; the remainder is part of Nunavut's Kitikmeot Region.
The Continental Divide is the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas. The Continental Divide extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellan, and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean and, along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean.
Abraham Ortelius was a Brabantian cartographer and geographer, conventionally recognized as the creator of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Ortelius is often considered one of the founders of the Netherlandish school of cartography and one of the most notable figures of the school in its golden age. The publication of his atlas in 1570 is often considered as the official beginning of the Golden Age of Netherlandish cartography. He is also believed to be the first person to imagine that the continents were joined together before drifting to their present positions.
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum is considered to be the first true modern atlas. Written by Abraham Ortelius, strongly encouraged by Gillis Hooftman and originally printed on May 20, 1570, in Antwerp, it consisted of a collection of uniform map sheets and sustaining text bound to form a book for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved. The Ortelius atlas is sometimes referred to as the summary of sixteenth-century cartography. The publication of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570) is often considered as the official beginning of the Golden Age of Netherlandish cartography.
Semyon Ivanovich Dezhnev was a Russian explorer of Siberia and the first European to sail through the Bering Strait, 80 years before Vitus Bering did. In 1648 he sailed from the Kolyma River on the Arctic Ocean to the Anadyr River on the Pacific. His exploit was forgotten for almost a hundred years and Bering is usually given credit for discovering the strait that bears his name.
The Island of California refers to a long-held Spanish misconception, dating from the 16th century, that the Baja California Peninsula was not part of mainland North America but rather a large island separated from the continent by a strait now known as the Gulf of California.
Francisco de Ulloa was a Spanish explorer who explored the west coast of present-day Mexico under the commission of Hernán Cortés. The reports of his expeditions along the Baja California Peninsula are credited with being influential in the perpetuation of the 17th century cartographic misconception of the existence of the Island of California.
Amundsen Gulf is a gulf located in the Northwest Territories, Canada, between Banks Island and Victoria Island and the mainland. It is approximately 250 mi (400 km) in length and about 93 mi (150 km) across where it meets the Beaufort Sea.
The human history of the west coast of North America is believed to stretch back to the arrival of the earliest people over the Bering Strait, or alternately along a now-submerged coastal plain, through the development of significant pre-Columbian cultures and population densities, to the arrival of the European explorers and colonizers. The west coast of North America today is home to some of the largest and most important companies in the world, as well as being a center of world culture.
Giacomo Gastaldi was an Italian cartographer, astronomer and engineer of the 16th century. Gastaldi began his career as an engineer, serving the Venetian Republic in that capacity until the fourth decade of the sixteenth century. From about 1544 he turned his attention entirely to mapmaking, and his work represents several important turning points in cartographic development.
The Globus Jagellonicus or Jagiellonian globe, probably made in northern Italy or the south of France and dated to around 1510, is by some considered to be the oldest existing globe to show the Americas. It bears a striking resemblance to the Hunt–Lenox Globe, also tentatively dated to 1510 which is the second or third oldest known terrestrial globe, after the Erdapfel of Martin Behaim, made in Nuremberg in 1492, the year before Columbus' discovery became known in March 1493, and thus without the new continents. Globes made by Martin Waldseemüller in 1507 already showed America.
Heiss Island is an island in Franz Josef Land, Russia. It is located in the central area of the archipelago, north of Hall Island, between Champ Island and Wilczek Land. Its area is 132 km².
A continental divide is a drainage divide on a continent such that the drainage basin on one side of the divide feeds into one ocean or sea, and the basin on the other side either feeds into a different ocean or sea, or else is endorheic, not connected to the open sea. Every continent on earth except Antarctica which has no free-flowing water has at least one continental drainage divide; islands, even small ones like Killiniq Island on the Labrador Sea in Canada, may also host part of a continental divide or have their own island-spanning divide.
Polynesians reached nearly all the Pacific islands by about 1200 AD, followed by Asian navigation in Southeast Asia and West Pacific. Around the Middle Ages Muslim traders linked the Middle East and East Africa to the Asian Pacific coasts. The direct contact of European fleets with the Pacific began in 1512, with the Portuguese, on its western edges, followed by the Spanish discovery of the Pacific from the American coast.
Hendrick van der Heul was a Dutch privateer who served with Captain William Kidd as his quartermaster. He later purportedly led an attempt to traverse the Northwest Passage, during which he and his crew froze to death. Because of references to him as a "small black man", he has sometimes been identified as African, which would make him the highest ranking known black pirate. However, his known ancestry is Dutch, and the description may simply mean that he had swarthy skin.