Antilia (Antillia), according to Aristotle, was the name by which a large island in the Atlantic was known to the Carthaginians. It may be worth noting that in Portuguese the word, ante-ihla, can be translated as ‘before’ or ‘in front of the island’. Aristotle, who had been one of Plato’s students, was the first to criticize his story of Atlantis. However it was Aristotle who wrote of a huge island in the Atlantic Ocean known by the Phoenicians as “Antilia” and so he appears to have unwittingly ended up supporting Plato‘s story.
Antilia is also the name of a landmass shown on medieval charts, varying in size and location between the Azores/Canaries and the Caribbean. In 1474, Paulo Toscanelli (1397-1482) produced a chart(a) showing the island of Antilia in the mid-Atlantic due west of the Canaries. The same map also includes the mythical St. Brendan’s Isle as a larger landmass further south. Battista Boccario shows Antilia on a 1435 map as did Zuane Pizzigani a decade earlier. After the discovery of the West Indies it assumed its present plural form of ‘Antilles’ to describe the large archipelago there.
In 1492, Martin Behaim (1436-1507) a German geographer constructed the earliest globe that we still have today. On it he depicts ‘Insula Antilia Septa Citida’ [The Island of Antilia of the Seven Cities] with an associated comment that relates how in 734 AD after the Moorish invasion of Spain the archbishop of Porto with six other bishops occupied this island. The legend of the Seven Cities was widely recorded, but its exact location is shown on old, and often not totally reliable, charts, as ranging from the Azores to the West Indies.
William H. Babcock writing in the 1920’s firmly opted for Cuba as Antilia, but was rather sceptical about the existence of Atlantis. On the other hand a more recent writer, Andrew Collins, is convinced that Cuba had been home to Atlantis.
Lewis Spence, writing in the 1920’s suggested that Antilia was a land bridge between Atlantis and the Americas. He proposed that refugees fleeing from a sinking Atlantis used this land bridge from the centre of the Atlantic and headed for what is today the Yucatan peninsula.
‘Antilia’ is also the name given to what is reputed to be the world’s first billion dollar residence. It is located in Mumbai and is the home of the Indian billionaire Mr Mukesh Ambani.