National Geographic : 1893 Apr 7
2 Gardiner G. Hubbard-Discoverersof America. from seamen who had no accurate means of determining dis tances, his maps, though showing most of the countries of Eu rope, Asia and northern Africa (plate 1*), were inaccurate and unreliable, though vastly superior to those of a later date. These maps were either entirely lost sight of or so changed by the pic torial extravagances of the map-makers of succeeding ages as to be of little value (plates 2 f and 4). St Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and other fathers of the church believed the earth to be a vast plain. They said with Isaiah, that the heaven which embraces the universe is a vault; with Job, that it is joined to the earth; and with Moses, that the length of the earth is greater than the breadth. This they insisted was the teaching of the word of God and must be accepted. Those who believed that the world might be round declared that there could be no inhabitants on the other side, for that Christ said "All tribes of the earth shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." The famous bull of Alexander VI, published in 1493, which gave all newly discovered land one hundred leagues west of the Azores to the Spaniards and all east of that line + to Portugal, im plied that the earth was a plain. For 1,500 years science and the church were in opposition as to the shape of the earth, and there were very few, whatever might be their convictions, who dared question the infallibility of the church. Thus all progress in natural science was checked, and geography and map-making practically ceased to exist. Early in the fourteenth century Marco Polo's book of travels appeared. This greatly increased geographic knowledge and had a direct and strong bearing on the discovery of America. In the preceding century the father and uncle of Marco Polo, merchants of Venice, made two journeys to the court of the great Khan Kublai, in eastern China. On the second journey Marco Polo accompanied his father and uncle. They went by Persia, over the Pamir mountains, through Turkestan, across the great desert of Gobi, and through Mongolia to China. There they re sided for many years, sent by the Khan on several missions and * Claudius Ptolemy's map of the world (circa A D 150), forming the accompanying plate 1, is reproduced from " The Discovery of America," by John Fiske, 1892, vol. i, p. 263. f Photolithographed directly from the "Chronicon Nurembergense " (auctore Hartman Schedel), 1493, fol. xiii. . Shown in the Juan de la Cosa map, plate 4.
1893 Apr 29
1893 Mar 20