Terra incognita  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
cartography

Terra incognita (with "incognita" stressed on the second syllable) is the Latin term for "unknown land", used in cartography for regions that have not been mapped or documented. The equivalent on French maps would be terres inconnues (plural form), and some English maps may show Parts Unknown.

Similarly, uncharted or unknown seas would be labeled Mare incognito, Latin for "unknown sea".

An urban legend claims that cartographers labelled such regions with "Here be dragons". Although cartographers did claim that fantastic beasts (including large serpents) existed in remote corners of the world and depicted such as decoration on their maps, only one known surviving map, the Lenox Globe, in the collection of the New York Public Library Terra incognita may also refer to the imaginary continent Terra Australis.

During the 19th century terra incognita disappeared from maps, since both the coastlines and the inner parts of the continents had been fully explored.

The phrase is now also used metaphorically by various researchers to describe any unexplored subject or field of research.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Terra incognita" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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