History of navigation
From mapping the stars to the quest to determine longtitude, read all about the astronomical and horological methods used throughout history to aid navigation. Plus, read about the evolution of compass design and discover how charts were used to map the world.
How did ships know where they were before seamen could get an accurate reading of their east/west location?
Why did most of the great European powers offer huge rewards for a way to determine longitude at sea?
Compasses are mainly navigation aids in the West, but Asian and Middle Eastern cultures have also used them for spiritual guidance.
Polaris is the brightest star in the Ursa Minor constellation, and has been used by sailors for navigating at sea.
John Dee (1527–1608/9) was a brilliant mathematician, antiquary and astrologer, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Where ‘left’ and ‘right’ could lead to confusion, ‘port’ and ‘starboard’ are perfectly clear and unambiguous to a seafarer.