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We rarely notice how nearly everything we are interested in is in the Northern Hemisphere. We have all looked at the Mercator map of the world all our lives, but rarely notice how northerly in the northern hemisphere most of our interest lies. Cairo, Egypt, is on the southern edge of the Mediterranean Sea and New Orleans is at the bottom of the United States, but these are already one third of the way to the North Pole. Also the Mercator map distorts. For example, Greenland with few people which is northerly is relatively enlarged, while Africa and South America which straddle the equator and are populous are relatively shrunken.

The southern tip of Africa is at 34.8° South with nothing but ocean beyond. But, when comparing Africa to 34.8° North we are at the Straits of Gibraltar and have only a small bit of the northern bulge of Africa beyond. But, when comparing north and south and replacing the open ocean to the south, we find all of Europe with its huge population and complex human culture and history.

Things are not much different in Australia, with the southernmost tip of the “continent” at 39° South, and of the island Tasmania at 43.6° South. Beyond that is open ocean. When compared to Europe that is at Florence, Italy. Imagine our world history if everything to the north from there was ocean.

New Zealand’s South Island goes a little further south, but not much at 46.6° South. That’s equivalent to the mouth of the Columbia river on the west coast of North America and of northern Maine on the east coast. Projected onto Europe it’s the northern edge of Italy. New Zealand is roughly the size and shape of Italy and north-south extent as is Italy. But, instead of Switzerland, Germany, Scandinavia to toward the pole there is only ocean.

In this little comparison this leaves only the lower most portion of South America for human habitation. But what do we find to the south of 46.6° South to compare to the north of Italy?

South-South America

The top edge is 46.6° S equivalent to the top of Italy and the bottom is 56.3 the bottom of Scandinavia.

There are only a few small cities on this map. Puerto Deseado, Rio Gallegos, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, and Cabo de Hornos. Out on the island is Stanley. Imagine that Copenhagen on this chart would be on the absolute edge at the bottom tip of the continent and all of the Scandinavian countries and most of Scotland would drop off the bottom  into the sea. The huge city of Moscow would be located on that little island at the bottom and Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, St Petersburg are totally out to sea.

It is amazing how much is north of 46.6° and how little south of it.