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Old World

Synonym of Afro-Eurasia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The "Old World" (Latin: Mundus Vetus) is a term for Afro-Eurasia that originated in Europe c.1596, after Europeans had become aware of the existence of the Americas.[1] It is used to contrast the continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia in the Eastern Hemisphere, 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] While located closer to Afro-Eurasia within the Eastern Hemisphere, Australia is considered neither an Old World nor a New World land, since it was only discovered by Europeans after the distinction had been made; both Australia and Antarctica were associated instead with the Terra Australis that had been posited as a hypothetical southern continent.

  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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