Antwerp: Abraham Ortelius, 1598.
Map. Engraving with hand coloring. Image measures 13 1/2" x 19 1/2".
This influential 1598 map by Abraham Ortelius is the first engraved exclusive map of the Pacific Ocean. Emphasizing the growing importance of the region in expanding colonial trade, the map presents the Pacific Ocean based on the works of Frans Hogenberg, Mercator's World map from 1569 as well as the manuscripts of Bartomeo de Lasso.
Ortelius pays fitting tribute to the voyages of Ferdinand Magellan, who, on a mission to find a route to the 'Spice Islands', became the first European to cross the Pacific and discover what is now known as the Strait of Magellan. Several interesting features appearing in this map relate to this historic voyage. The Pacific Ocean, previously known by the name 'Mar del Zur' or 'South Sea' was first called 'Mar Pacifico' by Magellan during his 1519 circumnavigation of the world when after sailing through the stormy seas off Cape Horn, the expedition finally found peaceful waters upon entering the waters of the Pacific.
The map includes a large illustration of the ship 'Victoria', one of the five ships in Magellan's fleet, and the first to successfully circumnavigate the world. The Victoria can be seen here firing a salute fore and aft to commemorate its emergence from the perilous Strait - which now bears Magellan's name - that separates the Atlantic from the Pacific. A notation below the ship reads, "I was the first to sail around the world by means of sails, and carried you, Magellan, leader, first through the straits. I sailed around the world, therefore I am justly called Victoria, my sails were my wings, my prize was glory, my fight was with the sea."
An abundance of cartographical speculation represents the knowledge of the region during the time. While the Pacific still appears to be a few degrees too narrow, Japan and New Guinea are closer to Asia than America. A large island 'Isla de Plata' appears above Japan, resembling Hokkaido. On Honshu's west coast, Ortelius notes silver mines (Minas de Plata).
Along the west coast of North America, the map identifies several places previously unpublished due to political reasons. These were provided to Ortelius by Haklyut on the basis of recent explorations. The kingdom of Quivira, the 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.
The Maluku Islands (the 'Spice Islands') are shown here on the left near the exaggerated New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The island of Guam is labeled 'Restiga de Ladrones' (Thieves Rock, named after the natives who pilfered Magellan's ship).
Tierro del Fueggo, first reached by Magellan is here shown to be part of the large speculated continent of Terra Australis that extends westward. Two large cartouches adorn the top right and bottom left of the map. Published in the 1598 edition of Ortelius' famous "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum," which is historically considered the first modern atlas. Based on the text on verso, only 525 copies of this particular edition were ever printed (van der Broecke 12). This is the first state of the map. Overall this map of the Pacific is of fundamental cartographical importance.
The map is in good condition with minor wear along the original centerfold. Some foxing and staining along the margins. Original plate mark is visible. French text on verso.
Abraham Ortelius (1527--1598), a Flemish cartographer and geographer, is widely regarded as one of the important and influential cartographers in history. He is known for his "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum," which was the first modern atlas.
Condition: Very Good