Padrão Real

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The Padrão Real (Portuguese pronunciation: [pɐˈðɾɐ̃w̃ ʁiˈaɫ], Royal Standard) was a master Portuguese nautical chart produced and maintained by the Portuguese government organization, the Armazéns da Índia, where the new discoveries were recorded. The earliest extant source referring explicitly to this cartographic standard is of ca. 1540 but it is believed that it was created much earlier, probably still during the fifteenth century. The Spanish counterpart of the Portuguese Padrão Real was the Padrón Real, officially established by the Spanish Monarchs in 1508, in the Casa de Contratación.

A popular theory sustains that the Cantino planisphere (1502) is a copy of Padrão Real, ordered by Alberto Cantino to some Portuguese official cartographer. However, there is no historical evidence that such order was ever made and the theory is weakened by the presence of numerous mistakes.


  • Note on the Castiglioni Planisphere, Armando Cortesao, Imago Mundi, Vol. 11, 1954 (1954), pp. 53–55
  • Harvey, Miles The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime. New York:Random House, 2000. ISBN 0-7679-0826-0. (Also ISBN 0-375-50151-7).