Three Sixteenth Century Indian Ocean Shipwrecks: Maps as Historical Evidence
Richardson, W A R
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For two centuries the landmass named Jave-la-Grande, which appears south of Indonesia on a number of French manuscript world maps made between 1542 and 1566, has been claimed by some to be an early map of Australia, owing to its position and to the superficial similarity between part of its east coast and part of the east coast of Australia. However, place-name studies begun in 1980 seem to have provided incontrovertible proof that the landmass concerned has nothing whatsoever to do with Australia, but was composed from primitive, large-scale, Portuguese sketch charts of parts of the coasts of Java and Vietnam. The French cartographers, unable to identify them, but convinced that they were genuine, attached them to the southern coasts of Java and Sumbawa which were left blank on Portuguese 16th century charts.