Maps and views blog

27 March 2020

Test your knowledge with our historic globe quiz

We're very pleased that 3D interactive models of ten of the British Library's historic globes are now freely available online. In fact I haven't stopped spinning them yet. Or is the spinning actually this room I've been stuck in for the past 2 weeks?

Globe viewing can be a rich experience, and some of these globes haven't been looked at properly for a good long while. So for those of you who like a challenge, we invite you to test your knowledge in our mini globe quiz:

  • Five globes, three questions each
  • Click on the globe title to access the 3D model 
  • No prizes (except, obviously, your eternal smugness at getting them all right)
  • This site is allowed  
  • Answers next week sometime

Good luck!

Willem Janszoon Blaeu's terrestrial globe, 1606 (updated to 1621)

  1. Where is the Le Maire strait, sailed through by a Dutchman (unsurprisingly named Le Maire) in 1616 and making a very early appearance on this globe?
  2. Who engraved the globe? Clue: he's signed it somewhere.
  3. Blaeu's globe pre-dates the introduction of the 'Island of California' on maps by some years, but can you identify another large peninsula which appears as an island here?

Blaeu's celestial globe of 1603

  1. Which late 16th century Dutch expedition first recorded stars in the southern hemisphere, and can you name 3 of these new constellations which appear on this globe?
  2. Which famous astronomer was Blaeu’s teacher?
  3. Can you spot a supernova? Which constellation is it in?


Thomas Tuttell's celestial globe of 1700

  1. Who / what does the constellation Cor Caroli represent, and which modern constellation would it lie in today?
  2. Who is the guy in the portrait included in the globe?
  3. How did Tuttell meet his tragic end?

Richard Cushee's terrestrial globe of 1730

  1. There are two New Britains on the globe. Can you find them?
  2. What do all the tiny little arrows refer to, and why might this sort of information be of interest to the globe's viewers in the early 18th century?
  3. The Gobi desert is labelled as what on the globe?

Richard Price, terrestrial globe, 1715

  1. Where was Richard Price's shop?
  2. What collection of desirable commodities can you get from Chile?
  3. There's an island in the Atlantic that is way too far north of where it should be. Can you find it?