Encompassing the Globe

Portuguese history in Google EarthThe Smithsonian Institute has a special exhibition through September 16th at the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery which is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The exhibition is called “Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries“. I’m really disappointed I just found out about it, because I was in Washington just two weeks ago – and I really enjoy learning about the early great mariners and explorers. The exhibition tells the tale of early exploration and world trade by the Portuguese and has all kinds of cartographical delights. Not only that, but the Smithsonian Institute has put together a Google Earth file to whet your appetite and help you learn a bit about the travels during this period. Definitely worth a look if you are at all interested in the history of early global exploration, world trade, and mapping. The new file is featured at the Google Earth Gallery this week.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Gasp! This is amazing. How can I do things like this in Google Earth? I am a history professor and I want to make my next seminar do a group project like this in Google Earth. We could chart North American explorers, or perhaps the Chinese in the west.

  2. Alexandre Neves says:

    It is oficial that Brazil was discovered by chance. Please compare the routes of Cabral and Vasco da Gama they perfectly match until the latitude of Canarias and then Cabral travels thousands of kilometers to west and (re)discovers Brazil then it converges again to the route of Vasco da Gama at south Africa. Remember that in the crew of Cabral was Bartolomeu Dias, the first european to round Cape of Good Hope.
    Best Regards

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