Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Problem of Mayda

William H. Babcock - The Problem of Mayda, an Island Appearing on Medieval Maps (1920)

Geographic Review link

Perhaps you've heard about phantom islands - nonexistant islands that made their way onto medieval or renaissance maps then proved remarkably resilient.  Many appeared for centuries after their appearance, in some cases even when travellers should have know they weren't there.  In one case even an entire mountain range (the Mountains of Kong) stayed on maps until somebody decided to go there and found no there there.  This piece looks at one of the most persistent islands - Mayda (or sometimes Man).  Originally located somewhere near Ireland, the location drifted west to North America before it finally disappeared.

(I later discovered Babcock wrote a full book about phantom islands called Legendary Islands of the Atlantic.)