On a map created by Thomas Jefferys, a cartographer, back in 1768 called Chart of the Atlantic Ocean, there seems to be a tiny dot of landmass which is located at the western coast of the country of Ireland. The tiny dot is called the Imaginary Isle of O Brazil. If you have seen this map then you might be questioning why a fictional island is included in a map of the real world.
The Isle of O Brazil or also called as Isle of Hy-Brasil on the labels on maps, has been included in various maps since the 14th century. The first time it was included, it was considered a mistake and eventually it was included as tribute to mythology. The isle’s size as well as shape is different in every map and its location is not the same as in every map since some are situated near Ireland while others can be seen near North America. The name of the isle also changes from time to time but it has been recorded on maps for five centuries and is known in Western cartography.
According to the Boston Public Library’s Norman B. Leventhal Map Center’s assistant curator, Stephanie Cyr, there are several mythical places that have been included in the map starting in the 14th century. In the north area of the Atlantic Ocean alone, there are imaginary places such as Hy-Brasil, Bus, St. Brendan and Maida which are all included in the early maps. The existence of these mythical places have been passed on by local legends as well as oral folklore based on the sightings of the early merchants and seafarers thus these places are included in maps. Efforts have been made since then to find these places on the maps such as the Hy-Brasil but there are none and eventually it was erased from the recent maps.
It only shows that there are various mythical places all over the world that might have been included by early cartographers. It is not surprising if there is none to be found in the London City Illustrated Map as these types of maps are recent and depicts actual, known locations.