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Magallania (Punta Arenas)

On-line version ISSN 0718-2244


KWIATKOWSKI, Nicolás. Magellanica, land of elephants. Three hypotheses for an allegory. Magallania [online]. 2020, vol.48, n.2, pp.5-20. ISSN 0718-2244.

In 1594, Cornelis Claesz published in Amsterdam a map of the world, drawn by Petrus Plancius and engraved by Joannes van Doetecum. The map itself was accompanied, in its margins, by allegorical personifications of six parts of the world. This was not uncommon in the maps and atlases at the time. However, Plancius’ work included an allegorical representation of “Magellanica” which is almost unique: the personification is mounted on an elephant and heads a herd of pachyderms and their mahouts, together with other animals, in the proximity of the Strait. The article offers three hypotheses in an attempt to explain this strange iconography.

Keywords : cartography; allegory; Magellanica; Terra Australis.

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