America sive India Nova ad magnae Gerardi Mercatoris aui Uiniversalis imitationem in compendium redacta
By: Michael Mercator
Date: 1596 (published) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 14.5 x 18 inches (37 x 45.75 cm).
This is the only know printed map attributed to Michael Mercator, grandson of Gerard. The stunning map of the Americas is based on Rumold Mercator's world map of 1587, but includes more detail. The North Pole is shown as several large islands just above a clear Northwest Passage and large inland lake in northern Canada. In America, the St. Lawrence extends far inland until its path is interrupted by a mountain range that comes from early Spanish explorations of the Southwest.
Three circular inserts show various islands of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. South America displays two large bulges on the east and west coast. The western bulge would disappear by the second state of the map; however the exaggerated eastern bulge would appear in most maps for well over a century. The majority of the Southern Hemisphere is dominated by a massive landmass called “Terra Australis Nondum Cognita.”
The presence of this landmass comes from a theory of counterbalance introduced by Aristotle that suggests a massive (though not yet discovered) must exist at the South Pole to counterbalance all the land in the Northern Hemisphere. Terra Australis extends north of the tropic of Capricorn and includes Terra del Fuego. The map is beautifully engraved with a floral design surrounding the map. Insets include the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba, and Haiti. No text on verso.
Condition: Map is in B condition, trimmed to the neatline on the left side and backed with archival paper to add stability and extra margins all around.
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