Sanderus catalogue

Old antique map of the Western Hemisphere by A. Ortelius

Item number:15676
Category:Antique maps > america > the americas
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Price: 4200 Euro ($4704 / £3738)
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Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio. - A. Ortelius, 1572

Old map of America, by A. Ortelius.


Date of the first edition: 1570
Date of this map: 1572

First plate, second state.

Copper engraving, engraved by Frans Hogenberg.
Size: 37 x 50.5cm (14.3 x 19.7 inches)
Verso text: German
Condition: Original coloured, margins lightly thumbed.
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Krogt 3, 9000:31A; Van den Broecke, 9; Burden 39; See Clancy, p.55 Map 4.1.

From: Theatrum oder Schawplatz des Erdbodems. Antwerpen, Gielis Coppens van Diest, 1572. (Van der Krogt, 3, 201)

"One of the most famous and easily recognised maps of America, and one that is both functional as well as decorative." (Burden)

This is the first of three copperplates that Ortelius used to depict the American continent.

1570 plate: The largest ship in the Pacific is sailing westwards, and the Equator is shown with no graduations between the longitudinal marks.
1579 plate: The largest ship in the Pacific is shown sailing eastwards, and there now appear graduations along the equatorial line.
1587 plate: The bulge to the south-western coast of South America is removed.

Ortelius depicts the discoveries of a number of people on this map, but the general shape of the continent is derived from Gerard Mercator's great twenty-one sheet world map of the previous year. The two of them had a close relationship and shared their knowledge openly with each other. It is recorded that they travelled together through France in 1560. One of the main noticeable features of the map is the bulbous Chilean coastline; this was not corrected until his third plate. A strategically placed cartouche hides a complete lack of knowledge of the southern waters of the Pacific. Once through the Strait of Magellan the voyager's sea route took him on an almost direct course for the East Indies. No sight had been made of a large continent but conventional wisdom had it that there had to be as much land in the southern hemisphere as in the northern. This was not fully dispelled until the second voyage of the remarkable Captain James Cook in 1772-75. The west coast of North America is shown too far west, as was common at the time. There is no new nomenclature shown.

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