Did you know that Claudius Clavus was born today in 1388? He was a Danish geographer and cartographer. A cartographer is someone who makes maps. When he was about 25 he started to travel around Europe. Eventually he came to Rome and helped to update the Roman cartography. He improved the description and representation of the geography of northwestern Europe, including what is now Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland. Most cartographers believe that he was also the first to put Greenland on a European map.
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Claudius Clavus is also known as “Nicholas Niger” or Claudius Claussøn Swart.
Later geographers found a huge discrepancy between the place names that Claudius Clavus used in Greenland and Iceland and place names found in Icelandic literature. Further research found that instead of including the actual name of places in Greenland, Claudius Clavus used words from a Danish folk song to name places he encountered. As for Iceland he used the names of Runic characters.
None of Claudius Clavus’ original work has been found, but copies of his maps and writing exist as well as references to his work by other cartographers and geographers.