Giovio Globe Mercator Globe

Perhaps the most striking difference between the Giovio and Mercator Globes occurs in Western North America.  It is true that the Giovio Globe sticks with the stumpy coastal outline of the Mercator Globe, and that the Peninsula of Lower California and the Gulf of California, so prominent on the Gastaldi1561 World Map and subsequent Italian maps, are not delineated here.  On the other hand, the blank spaces of the Mercator globe are replaced by a profusion of geographic features and toponomic names that reflect both Coronado’s interior expedition of 1540-1542 and Cabrillo’s coasting of 1542-1543. 

As expected, the toponomy of the Giovio Globe matches that of the 1561 Gastaldi Map and its successors. In addition, the course of the Colorado River system is nearly identical to that of the Gastaldi 1561 map and the drawings of the buffalo on both the Giovio Globe and the Gastaldi map would seem to derive from the same source. The inscription relating to buffalo are the same on the Giovio Globe and the 1561 Gastaldi, except that the former is in Latin and the latter in Italian. A similar, but not identical, inscription appears on Gastaldi’s map of New Spain that appeared in the1548 Ptolemy.  Along the western coast of North America, the Giovio Globe adds numerous names, names, again, that are also found on the Gastaldi world map of 1561 and subsequent follow-on Italian maps..

While a strong relationship between the Gastaldi 1561 World Map and the Giovio Globes seems irrefutable, the question of which one preceded the other presents an intriguing question. The Rome globe, with its addition of a fully delineated Lower California, appears to answer to this question. Clearly, the maker of the Giovio globe was willing to make substantial changes and corrections to Mercator's geography (See, particularly, the considerable reduction in the extent of the Beach/ Maetur Peninsula).  Yet, the maker of the Giovio Globe did not undertake any changes to Mercator's treatment of California.  If the maker of the Giovio Globe had Gastaldi’s 1561 map in hand, why did he not add a Lower California Peninsula, a peninsulas so prominently featured on the Gastaldi map?  The answer would appear to be that the manufacture of the Giovio Globe most likely preceded the publication of the Gastaldi 1561 Map.  Then, subsequent to the publication of the 1561 Map, the maker of the Giovio Globe re-engraved one of his gores to include a fully delineated Lower California, as seen in the Rome Globe. 

How Gastaldi’s 1546 map of Nueva Hispania, with its prominent Lower California Peninsula fits into all this is another question.   Another interesting question is in what year were the accounts of the explorations of Coronado and Cabrillo, (and also Valdivia and Orellana) first available to mapmakers?

 Finally, two concluding observations: first, the West Coast names on the Giovio Globe stretch well above 45 degrees N latitude reached by Cabrillo’s expedition: second, both the Giovio Globe and the Gastaldi 1561 map show a Golfo de Cheinan in the North Pacific between Asia and North America, but only the Gastaldi map labels the strait between the two continents Streto di Anian.