Amsterdam: Jodocus Hondius, 1623. unbound. Map. Engraving with hand coloring. Image measures 14.75" x 19 5/8". 1623. very good.
Beautiful early map of the Americas with part of Australia. Includes vignette of Brazilians making a drink from corn, as depicted by De Bry. Decorative animals and ships dot the seas, exemplifying various regions including Japan, Greenland, Florida, South America, and Europe. Presents some of the most fascinating examples of speculative cartography from the period.
Among the most interesting of these is the mapping of the legendary Lake Parima (a large lake over the equator is mapped, but not identified by name on this map) and the fabled kingdom of El Dorado or the city of Manoa along its banks. Following Sir Walter Raleigh's 1595 publication of "The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana", in which he connected the city of Manoa with El Dorado, European interest in the regain grew considerably in the 17th century and various explorers set out in search of gold in Guiana. The city and the lake would continue to appear on maps until the early 1800s.
In North America, Anian appears near modern day Alaska. First appearing in the journals of Marco Polo and the 1561 map by Zaltieri, Anian or Anyan became associated with the mythical Northwest Passage. John Donne's poem 'Anyan if I go west by the North-West Passage' made the term popular. On our map it is interpreted as the Bering Straits (Anian Fretum), as many cartographers did during the time, transporting the fiction into cartography. Anian region is also identified, representing Alaska, which long bore that name.
Just south of Anian Regn, Hondius maps the kingdom of Quivira, another supposed ancient city of gold in North America. Conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado searched for Quivira for several years to finally find it was no more than American Indian settlement of farming people.
From the 1623 Latin edition of "Gerardi Mercatoris Atlas sive Cosmographicae" (Mercator-Hondius Atlas).
Originally created by Mercator, this plate was later added to by Hondius. Based on numerous sources, Hondius' updated version is more accurate, particularly in the west coast of South America. Although no image loss, expert repairs to lower and upper centerfold, very slight abrasion to paper in the border of the inset vignette. Light scattered staining to margins.
Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) was an accomplished mathematician, cartographer, globe maker and engraver but is best known for the Mercator Projection. Incorporating the newly accepted fact that the world is round, Mercator was able to render longitude lines consistently straight on a chart. Although this requires some distortion, it was of great use for navigators, and is historically important, as it is still the most commonly used projection today.
Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612) was the founder of a prolific map publishing business, which helped to propel the Dutch to lead the Golden Age of cartography. When Jodocus the elder died in 1612, his wife Colette ran the business until their sons came of age to join the firm. During this time, their daughter Elisabeth married Johannes Jansson and the two of them helped Colette run the business. Jodocus & Colette's youngest son, Henricus Hondius (1597-1651) later ran the business along with his extended family.