Abraham Ortelius 1570 map of the World.

This 1570 map shows that the geographers of the time believed that there was a huge Southern continent which they called Terra Australis and they believed that it was all but linked to South America. They knew, from Magellan, that there was a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific but did not realise that there was an Ocean to the South of America. Drake was to be the first person to claim that there was a sea passage South of Tierra del Fuego. This map also shows that they hoped to discover a North-West passage linking the Atlantic to the Pacific. Again, one of Drake's purposes of his 1577 mission was to try and find the opening of this passage from the Pacific side, as attempts from the Atlantic had all ended in failure.

Explorers | Francis Drake | Dawn of Empire Article

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by Stephen Luscombe