The Pacific in 30 historical maps
The (eastern) Pacific was first sighted by Europeans in the early 16th century when Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513 and discovered the great “southern sea” which he named Mar del Sur (in Spanish). But it was Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan who gave this largest ocean in 1521 its current name: Mare Pacifico (Pacific Ocean). The name was chosen because of the apparent stillness of the sea. Magellan was the first explorer who circumnavigated the globe and charted the real extension of the Pacific Ocean. The world map of Diego Ribero (1527) was the first map showing the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. The first printed separate maps of the Pacific Ocean appeared at the end of the 16th century. Numerous maps followed in the 17th century, most of them made by Dutch cartographers in service of the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company).