Map of a made-up southern continent, late 1500s

The Arctic and Antarctic were the last regions on earth to be understood by explorers and mapmakers. So it is not surprising that many 16th century world maps include odd continents in place of the Antarctic. This map of the Southern Continent was made in northern France in the late 1500s. The continent is in fact completely made-up and yet is incredibly detailed. The mapmakers have included authentic looking place names and a realistically jagged coastline; strange sea creatures swim around ships in the ocean, while the land itself is covered in exotic plants, trees and animals. You may even find a unicorn skipping over the hills!

Taken from: Part of the fictitious Souther Continent
Date: late C16
Copyright: © The British Library Board
Shelfmark: Egerton MS 1513, f.36