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By: Willem Janszoon Blaeu
Date: 1631 (published) Amsterdam (3rd State)
Dimensions: 16 x 22 inches (40.5 x 56 cm)
This is one of the more iconic maps of the Americas ever produced by the legendary Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu. The map itself is similar to Blaeu's wall map of 1608 with the additional discoveries of Henry Hudson in North America, and Tierra del Fuego with Le Maire Strait.
Examining the Map: Mythical and Unknown Places
North America is divided into several large regions with very little cartographic information west of the Appalachians or north of 40 degrees latitude, including a complete absence of the Great Lakes. To fill in such a large blank space, Blaeu uses an inset map of Groenlan (Greenland), Islandia (Iceland), and the mythical island of Frislandia, which first appeared in the influential Zeno map of 1558.
The coastal outlines generally follow Ortelius and Wytfliet with nomenclature from a variety of explorers and colonists. In South America, the mythical “Parime Lacus,” can be found along the equator with the fabled golden city of Manoa or El Dorado nestled on its north shore. This refers to the myth of a golden city where everyday the king would cover himself in gold dust and bathe in the lake. Cannibals depicted in Brasilia and giants in Patagonia are consistent with earlier works dating back to the 16th century by Linschoten and Munster.
Carto-Figures and City Views
Panels at sides, each with five portraits of the native inhabitants, were taken from John White (Virginia), Hans Staden (Brazil) and other early explorer's accounts. Across the top are nine inset views or maps of important cities and ports in the Americas including Havana, St. Domingo, Cartegena, Mexico City, Cusco, Potosi, I. la Mocha in Chile, Rio de Janeiro and Olinda in Brazil.
Latin text on verso.
Condition: This map is in B condition with some short marginal tears that have been professionally repaired on the verso. One chip in the lower right extends just into the border of the image. Vertical creases along the centerfold are apparent and there is one small rust hole (that has been closed) in a carto-figure box, second from the bottom left. Overall, the map presents a very nice image with lovely, old (not original) hand coloring over a strong impression on lightly toned paper.
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