Fra Mauro map [c 1450] - South is on top
This is an 1804 copy of perhaps the first ‘modern’ world map, made by the Venetian monk Fra Mauro in about 1450. It points south because 15th-century compasses were south-pointing. It shows the Portuguese discoveries in Africa and questioned the authority of medieval and classical sources. Intended for display in Venice, it emphasises the feats of Marco Polo. The British East India Company commissioned this copy, thus implying that Britain was heir to the Portuguese empire.
William Frazer: London and Venice, 1804 Manuscript on vellum : BL Add. MS 11267