Die Neuwen Inseln /so Hinder Hispanien Gegen Orient bey dem Land Indie Ligen
By: Sebastian Munster
Date: 1550 (published) Basel, Switzerland
Dimensions: 10.5 x 13.5 inches (26.7 cm x 33 cm)
This is an authentic, antique map of the Western Hemisphere showing North and South America connected as true continents. It is the 5th state example published out of Basel as part of Sebastian Munster’s Geographia in 1550.
Munster’s map of the Western Hemisphere is the earliest known map to focus on all of America and the first to officially name the Pacific Ocean “Mare Pacificum.” North America is shown nearly bisected by the Sea of Verrazzano, which was the result of Verrazzano mistaking the waters west of the Outer Banks along North Carolina as the Pacific Ocean. The earliest appearance of Japan (Zipangri) shows the island positioned just west of North America with an archipelago and Pacific Ocean whose size is severely underestimated. The Yucatan Peninsula is depicted as an island (Iukatana) and Puerto Rico (named Sciana) is marked with the Castile and Leon flag of Spain.
South America displays a large western and eastern bulge, in which Cannibals are noted with a vignette of a severed limb outside of some bushes. Cannibals would be noted in the area of Brazil for well over 100 years after this map was published. A very early appearance of the Strait of Magellan is noted between the southern tip of South America and a large landmass (Tierra del Fuego), which for about 80 years after this map would regarded as the great southern continent, commonly labeled “Magallanica or Terra Australis.” In the southern Pacific, a large vignette of Magellan’s Ship floats with sails up.
Sebastian Munster (1488 – 1552), a German cartographer, cosmographer and Hebraic scholar, was one of the more influential minds of his time. As an adult he would be known as a true Renaissance man, a polymath with wide ranging interests who became an expert and renowned authority in Greek and Hebrew, mathematics and astronomy.
In 1540, Münster published his edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia. It contained 48 woodcut maps, including the usual Ptolemaics, along with a number of new maps of great import in the mapping of 16th century Europe. His 1550 edition of the Cosmographia included a large number of town and city prospects, and with this definitive edition of the Cosmographia, Münster attained true universal acclaim as a cartographer. Though he would die soon after of Bubonic Plague in 1552, many of his works would continue to be published for decades after his death.
Ref: Burden #12, state 5; Kershaw #4c
Condition: This map is in B condition with with old color a strong impression and full margins on all sides. Several small pinholes, and a repaired tear extending about 1 inch into the image at bottom center are apparent. An overall very pleasing example of an important cartographic work.
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