Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Abraham Ortelio1588

Acción Cultural Española, AC/E

Acción Cultural Española, AC/E
Madrid, Spain

Five hundred years ago, a long hoped-for journey began in Seville. Its aim was to reach the mythical east and the Maluku (formerly the Moluccas or Spice) Islands, via the uncharted part of the globe. This journey, begun in 1519 by Ferdinand Magellan, concluded three years later, becoming the longest journey of its time. It was the first circumnavigation of the globe, completed by Juan Sebastián Elcano and the crew of the Victoria in 1522.

The exhibition, The Longest Journey: The First Circumnavigation of the Globe, was organized by Acción Cultural Española and Spain’s Ministry of Culture and Sport. It was based on original documents held in the General Archive of the Indies in Seville, accounts of the journey written by the crew, and other documents, letters, and accounts housed in various European libraries and archives.

Image from the mappa mundi Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theater of the Orb of the World), by Abraham Ortelius (1588, General Archive of the Indies). Graphic from the exhibition catalog of The Longest Journey, designed by Lola Bermúdez (Tannhauser Estudio).


  • Title: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
  • Creator: Abraham Ortelio
  • Date Created: 1588
  • Original Source: Archivo General de Indias

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