Is HDTV in Your City yet?   Map of DeSoto's World
Press for CluesIn 1539 DeSoto thought America was an island separated from Asia by Balboa's South Sea (the Pacific Ocean in 1513). Magellan had sailed that sea to China when DeSoto was 21, proving our earth was round. With that, DeSoto planned to trade Spain's New World Gold with China* by traveling north to that sea, across what he called this "Island of Florida."
   1544 World Map     Other Europeans sought that "Northwest Passage."

*"The explorations of Columbus and those of his contemporaries completely revised the world picture. As a result, cartographers were stimulated to devise new methods for depicting the enlarged world. But the voyages did even more: they relegated the Mediterranean to a secondary place in world affairs by diverting trade between Europe and the Orient to the Atlantic."
        *Doctors Clarence B. Odell and Dale Edward Case in: Geographical Background of the First Voyage of Columbus

Map to England's Sea of China - 16671564 Map1544 Map
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Press for Worldwide Magnetic Compass Variation AnimationEastward Coastal Depiction on Old Maps of North America

The eastward distortion of North America's Coasts on maps drawn during the 1500's may well have been due to westerly compass declination (westerly magnetic variation, which causes a compass to point northwestward instead of due north) along those coasts, which was not understood for the next hundred years. Native American Conquest

Maps drawn after 1702 depict America's shorelines closer to reality.