Europe and North Africa
This is a map of Europe and neighbouring regions. These areas had been well known for centuries but this map nonetheless has a series of features that are worthy of note. Like almost all the other maps, this map is also a copy of a nautical chart and hence it only contains costal toponyms; inland cities such as Paris or even London have not been depicted. Even the miniscule island of Malta has been drawn without identifying its capital, Medina or Imdina, but only showing Marsasiset, i.e. Marsasmxett or Marsamuscetto, one of the two gulfs between which the territory’s new capital, La Valletta, would be built after the great Turkish siege of 1565. The only exception is Rome, identified by a small caption in black just north of Naples, which, like the most important ports, has been identified by a red caption. The only countries identified by names are islands or peninsulas, such as Ireland (Irlandia), Iceland (Iselandia), Norway (Norouaga) and Sweden (Suecia); similar gilded letters identify the Mediterranean islands of Majorca (Maillorca), Corsica (Corcia), Sardinia, Sicily (Cicillia), Crete (Cãdia), Rhodes (Rodia) and Cyprus (Chipra), along with Gotland (Gotlanda) in the Baltic.
The representation of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic coast more or less up to the latitude of London is quite perfect.
Luis Filipe F. R. Thomaz
Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University
(Excerpt from the companion volume of the Atlas Vallard)