Cabot's Map of the World." 1544. Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
Landmarks around the coast include the "Magdalena River,"
the "Gulf of St. Thomas," "low land," and
"mountains." Most of Africa's major rivers have not been charted
beyond the coasts, so their twists and turns are merely speculative.
Meanwhile, near the center stands the mythical Christian ruler, Prester John.
Bearing the cross, his supposed realm still lured many explorers,
missionaries, and merchants into voyaging to Africa. The continent's interior
also reveals strange and fanciful creatures, black African kings, and
diminutive pygmies. The real contours of the African interior would not be
filled in by Europeans until well into the nineteenth century.