Late 16th century world map based on Icelandic writings.
This map by Sigurd Stefánsson, a schoolmaster who taught
at Skálholt, dates from the 1500s. The western hemisphere
place names were derived from information contained in old Icelandic
writings. Although the original map has not survived, this reproduction
was published in 1706 by Torfæus from 'Gronlandia Antiqua.'
From Jónas Kristjánsson, Icelandic Sagas
and Manuscripts (Reykjavik, Iceland: Saga Publishing Co.,
Many medieval and early Renaissance scholars falsely perceived that the North
Atlantic ocean contained numbers of islands and was surrounded by a continuous
coastline of land. This notion is represented in Stefánsson's world map.
Several place names are included on this map. North of the compass rose, is
situated the mythical island of 'Frisland' (Frifland) and above it,
Iceland (Ifland). While Norway (Norvegia) appears along the
right-hand section of mainland, the Faroe Islands (Feröe) and the
Orkney Islands (Orcades) are situated off its southwest coastline. Both
Ireland (Irland) and Britain (Britannia) appear just below the
Orkney island chain. What are commonly believed to be the Great Northern Peninsula
of Newfoundland (Promonterium Vindlandiæ), also referred to as 'Vinland'
meaning 'wine-land') and Labrador (Skrælingeland, 'land of the savages')
are located in the lower left hand corner of the map. Helluland ('flagstone-land')
and Markland ('forest-land') - most likely the Labrador peninsula - comprise the
mainland section to the left of the compass rose. The large section of jutting
mainland to the north of this is Greenland (Grönlandia).