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Topic: Biographies
Number of pages / Number of words: 30 / 8280
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Finally, he read maps as if the distances were calculated in Italian miles (1,238 meters). Accepting the length of a degree to be 56? miles, from the writings of Alfraganus, he therefore calculated the circumference of the Earth as 25,255 kilometers at most, and the distance from the Canary Islands to Japan as 3,000 Italian miles (3,700 km)...

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Columbus did not realize that Alfraganus used the much longer Arabic mile of about 1,830 meters. He was not alone in "wishing" the earth smaller, however. A stunning image of the virtual Earth inside his mind survives in a globe finished in 1492 by Martin Behaim of Nuremberg, Germany, "the gayEarthapple...

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