Diego Cuoghi

Part 1 (Piri Reis) - Part 2 (Oronce Fine) - Part 3 (Philippe Buache) - Part 4 (Atlantis)

Versione italiana


(English translation: Daniela Cisi)


Then there is a third map, also published by Graham Hancock in his book ”Fingerprints of Goods”, which is considered an evidence of the fact that Antarctic was already known before its effective exploration. It is the map of Philippe Buache, published certainly after 1739 (Hancock says 1737) since in its notes there is reference to the journey of Charles Bouvet, who reached the new lands south of Cape of Good Hope the first of january of the same year. Actually the map may seem strange, since the South Pole is placed at the middle of a glacial sea and is surrounded by two wide islands that form a huge austral continent. In this case the similarity with Antarctic is really poor but the fans of mysteries do not discourage because of this and say that this map represent Antarctic before it was covered by glaciers, hundred thousand years ago.

Even in this case the truth is simpler and gives evidence to the way of proceeding of these archeology-fiction-best-sellers writers. For example they do not even care about the great variety of text, descriptions, notes present in the cart of Buache, which, once red, explain clearly what the cartographer intended to represent. Moreover these writers hide to the reader a very important information: the fact that two different versions of this cart do exist.

The former version contains only the real information about the new lands recently discovered at the far south of the world: Australia,Tasmania, New Zeland, Bouvet island with Cape of Circumncision, another land south of the Tierra del Fuego (maybe one of the Shetlands).


In the latter version the author clearly writes conjecturée (conjectured) and draws an imaginary continent by joining together the few parts of coast effectively explored at that period (traced in red), thus creating the latest descent of the mythical “Terra Australis Incognita” as also represented in many renaissance carts and globes.
Buache did not represent Antarctic as it were hundred thousand years ago but simply tried to join together the few extremes available of an unknown land to figure out how it could look like. Doing this and sketching out the Terra Australis Buache took inspiration from the globe of Gerard De Jode of 1593, while some denominations of parts of the Terra Australis (for example the Terre des Perroquets) come from the globe of Gerard Mercator of 1541, who refers back to the tales of Marco Polo.

Version 1 ........

Version 2 .... ....

The cart, in both versions, provides rich information concerning the journeys made at the far south of the known world (both original French texts and English translation are available on the web). Specifically there is mention of Captain Bouvet, who the first of January 1739 discovered a new land south of Cape of Good Hope, named it Cape of Circumcision (after the first of January recurrence) and described it like a big iced mountain, harsh and inaccessible.
He too, as Magellan before him with the Tierra del Fuego, did not realize that that was an island. On the contrary he thought it was the northern part of the mythical austral continent. In the carts of Buache the journey of Bouvet is traced with precision, with dates and the route followed. In addition there are descriptions of the icebergs encountered during these trips and the Cape of Circumcision is clearly represented in the second cart, described as part of the austral continent.

Buache was not the first one who represented the Terra Australis Incognita in this way. This is a map drawed by Jan Jansson in 1657 (click to enlarge):


See also :
A Corruption of European History - Buache's Map of 1739 by Robert Wilde
Minds in Ablation Part Five: Charting Imaginary Worlds by Sean Mewhinney

Links to web pages containing rich image archives concerning maps, planispheres and nautical carts:
MAP HISTORY / History of Cartography
ODDENS Bookmarks - The Fascinating World of Maps and Mapping
Marco Capurro, "MAPPE DI CITTA' ed altre mappe antiche diverse"

An italian page about the myth of "Terra Australis"

Other Planispheres and Globes >>>

Other studies of Diego Cuoghi in