By: Martin Waldseemuller
Date: 1513 (published) Strasbourg
Dimensions: 15 x 17.5 inches (38 x 44.5 cm)
This is a lovely example of the earliest obtainable map to focus on the New World, otherwise known as the “Admiral’s Map,” for its reference to the “Admiral” as the source of the information in the text on the verso. The map originally appeared in a Ptolemaic atlas published out of Strasbourg in 1513.
Waldseemuller depicts the southeastern portion of present-day North America, connected to the northern portion of South America with a continuous coastline. At the time, this land connection was only a theory, waiting to be proven through further exploration. In the top left, we can see what appear to be the peninsula of Florida, and the Mississippi delta with several islands in between. The massive “Terra Incognita” lacks any interior detail, but includes several place names and tributaries extending only a short distance inland. In the Caribbean, we find the islands of Isabella (Cuba), which was named after Queen Isabella of Spain, Spagnolla (Haiti & Dominican Republic), Borigeum (Puerto Rico), and Jamaiqua. The Archipelago within the same region represents the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Virgin Islands and some of the Lesser Antilles.
Western Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, and a portion of England appear in the right hand portion of the map. This map is of utmost importance to the cartographic history of the Americas. With the exception of the reduced version of this map published by Laurent Fries in 1522 / 1541, there would not be another map to focus on the Americas published until Ramusio’s map of 1534.
Condition: Map is in B condition with numerous wormholes that have been backed with a fine tissue paper on the verso and some water staining apparent within Terra Incognita. The map boasts full margins and vibrant original color.
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