Joseph Fischer (cartographer)

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Joseph Fischer (German: Josef Fischer; 19 March 1858 – 1944) was a German clergyman and cartographer.


Fischer was born in Quadrath in Rhein, Westphalia. He was educated at the gymnasium in Rhein and the universities of Münster, Munich, Innsbruck and Vienna, and Jesuit scholasticates in the Netherlands, Austria and England. In 1881, he entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained to the priesthood in 1891. After 1895, he was professor of geography and history at Stella Matutina College, Feldkirch. His scientific achievements comprise the discovery of the maps of Martin Waldseemüller of 1507 and 1516 and of Jodocus Hondius in Wolfegg Castle, Württemberg in 1891. In 1903-04, and again in 1909-10, he visited Italy, France and England as member of the Austrian Institute of Historical Studies for the purpose of cartographical research.[1]

It is suspected[citation needed] that Joseph Fischer forged the Vinland Map, revealed to the public as a "genuine" pre-Columbian map in 1965. However, chemical analysis revealed that the map had been treated in the early 1950s,[citation needed] yet Fischer died in 1944.


His published works include:[1]

  • Die Beziehungen Kaiser Rudolfs II zu Erzherzog Matthias bis zum Vertrage von Lieben
  • Der sogennante Schottwiener Vertrag vom Jahre 1600 (1897)
  • Der Linzer Tag vom Jahre 1605 in seiner Bedeutung für die Österreichische Haus und Reichsgeschichte (1898)
  • Die Entdeckungen der Normannen in America (1902; Engl. trans., 1903)
  • Die älteste Karte mit dem Namen America A.D. 1507, und die Carta Marina aus dem Jahre 1516 des M. Waldseemüller (German and English eds., 1903)
  • Map of the World by Jodocus Hondius, 1611 (1907)
  • Introduction of the Cosmographiae Introductio of Martin Waldseemüller (1907)
  • Der “deutsche Ptolemäus” um 1490 (1910)

He collaborated in Jahrbuch des historischen Vereins von Liechtenstein (1910) and contributed to the Innsbrucker theologische Zeitschrift, Innsbrucker Fernandeums Zeitschrift, Historical Records and Studies, Göttinger Gelehrte Anzeigen, The Catholic Encyclopedia, and Stimmen aus Maria-Laach.[1]