Castiglioni World Map

C.G. A 12 - Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)

Alternate Titles:

Planisfero Castiglioni, Castiglioni-Weltkarte

Facsimile edition
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Alternate Titles

Planisfero Castiglioni

Extent / Format

1 map / 81.5 x 214.0 cm


Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain (1500-1558)

Artist / School

Diego Ribeiro, head cartographer of the Casa de Contratación in Seville

Former owners

Baldassarre Castiglioni (1478-1529)

Short description

The Castiglioni World Map originated in the year 1525 in Seville, Spain. It was produced by Diego Ribeiro, the managing cartographer of the Spanish cartography school. The map arose at the behest of Emperor Charles V, who transferred it to the distinguished count and author Baldassare Castiglioni as a gift.

Facsimile editions available


Castiglioni World Map

In the Middle Ages there arose atlases and maps completely without technical aids. Appearing even more astounding and admirable to us today are the works by medieval cartographers which still survive. A particularly influential map originated from 1525 in the Spanish city of Seville. The Castiglioni World Map is the masterpiece of the Renaissance scholar Diego Ribeiro. The cartographer made his famous map at the behest of Charles V, who later presented it to the Spanish count, diplomat, and writer Baldassare Castiglioni as a gift. The high-quality sea chart is one of the first maps in which the world is visualized in its spherical form.

The Spanish Cartography of the Renaissance

In the 16th century, Spain and Portugal were Europe’s most successful colonial powers. Numerous discoveries and settlements in previously little inhabited regions took place under Spanish flags. The many expeditions and discoveries of the Spanish additionally lead to the settlement here of the most modern school of cartography at the time. The “Casa da Contratatión”, founded in 1503, was a royal authority for the management of all Spanish expeditions of exploration and conquest in the New World. Some of the most important maps and sea charts of the Middle Ages originated from there. Diego Ribeiro was the managing cartographer of the Casa da Contratatión. His Castiglioni World Map did not merely serve the publication and circulation of new geographical information. They were primarily used for seafaring. After its creation, the Castiglioni World Map was consulted by seafarers and served the expansion and control of Spanish sea trade. After the map was transferred from Emperor Charles V to its latter Spanish owner, Baldassare Castiglioni, it remained for a long time in the private library of the count. In the year 2000, the important historical document was transferred to the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria in Italian Modena. Here it was part of an exhibition on the development of cartography in Europe until 2002. Today the influential world map is still stored in the Estense library.

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