Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Old books, maps and prints by Pedro de Medina

Pedro de Medina (1493-1567)

Pedro de Medina (1493 – Seville, 1567) was a Spanish cartographer and author of navigational texts. His well-known Arte de navegar ("The Art of Navigation", 1545) was the first work published in Spain dealing exclusively with navigational techniques.

In 1545 Medina published his most important work, Arte de navegar ("The Art of Navigation") in eight volumes. It was dedicated to the future king Philip II, in support of his quest to be appointed royal cosmographer. This work was an overview of existing knowledge on this subject, and was probably a revision and expansion of his "Book of Cosmography" of 1538, which had already been examined by the Council of the Indies. Arte was the first treatise on navigation to be published in Spain. The senior cosmographer Alonso de Chaves demonstrated that Medina's Arte was a compilation, made with the assistance of other writers. Diego Gutiérrez and other authors claimed that they had helped with parts of the book, and Medina himself acknowledged the assistance of Francisco Faleiro and Alonso de Santa Cruz on other occasions, but not with the writing of Arte. The book was internationally disseminated and quickly translated into several European languages: it was translated into French fifteen times between 1554 and 1663, four times into Dutch (1580-1598), three times into Italian (1554-1609) and twice into English. This work contributed considerably to the development of navigation on the high seas.


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