The historical imaginary presents Tierra del Fuego as a border-place, the last frontier of civilization anchored at the southern end of the habitable earth. Terra Incógnita. Terra Australis. The first cartographies represent the end of the world as the Antipodes of the known reality: a place inhabited by giants, dragons and monsters. From the Torrid Zone to the White Continent.

The End of the World: the cartographic imaginary

Timeline

0400
January 25

MACROBIOUS AMBROSIUS THEODOSIUS

The world divided into climatic zones. There is no knowledge of the southern hemisphere. Both the fiery fringes of the perustas as well as the course of the ocean make it inaccessible. They are the Antipodes, a place inhabited by strange beings, a vast world open to the adventures of the imagination.
1121
January 25

JOHANN HEINRICH LAMBERT

The southern land is temperate but inaccessible to men because of the great heat of the sun and the size of the ocean. There, the climate is extreme: boiling in summer and freezing when it is cold. "Nothing there can be placed in relation to the men of our species."
1506
January 25

FRANCESCO ROSELLI

Already oval-shaped, the planisphere shows two large islands in the southern hemisphere: Terra Crucis Sive Mundus Nuvus (the present South America) and Antarticus, in southern Africa, below 50º, where some cities are located adhering to the assumption of the habitability of the temperate zone.
1520
January 25

ANTONIO PIGAFETTA

The Strait of Magellan, as well as opening a trade route to the East, it offered together with the lands sighted to the south, empirical evidence that revitalized the debate on the existence of a great southern continent. Pigafetta's cartography also includes the term "Patagones", a name that will later be taken by the region due to the height of its people.
1546
January 25

PIERRE DESCELIERS

The map of Desceliers shows strange animals in the south: one of them seems to be a dragon, while the other two are a couple of griffins.
1565
January 25

PAOLO FORLANI

Tierra del Fuego appears as part of a large white continent, Antarctica. It refers to the area "Terra Incógnita" where real animals (giraffes, elephants) live with unicorns and griffins.
1595
January 25

JODOCUS HONDIUS

Tierra del Fuego is represented for the first time separated from Antarctica or Terra Incognita.
1664
January 25

WILLEM BLAEU

Tierra del Fuego finally takes its island form and is represented totally disconnected from Antarctica (which no longer appears as a great "White Continent")

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