Old World

The "Old World" (Latin: Mundus Vetus) is a term for Afro-Eurasia that originated in Europe c.‚ÄČ1596, after Europeans became aware of the existence of the Americas.[1] It is used to contrast the continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia, which were previously thought of by their inhabitants as comprising the entire world, with the "New World", a term for the newly encountered lands of the Western Hemisphere, particularly the Americas.[2]

  Old World
Map of the "Old World" (the 2nd century Ptolemy world map in a 15th-century copy)
This T and O map, from the first printed version of Isidore's Etymologiae (Augsburg, 1472), identifies the three known continents (Asia, Europe and Africa) as respectively populated by descendants of Sem (Shem), Iafeth (Japheth) and Cham (Ham).

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