Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio. A. ORTELIUS.
Americas/ Virginia.
[Antwerp, 1587 [1595]]

Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio.

14 ⅞ x 19 inches. Fine original color. Excellent.

An impeccable example with vibrant original color of Ortelius' second map (though third plate) of the Americas. It improved upon its predecessor in many important ways, most apparently in the removal of the large bulge on the west coast of South America. However, perhaps the most intriguing change qualifies this work as the first, acquirable printed map to delineate the Chesapeake Bay, predating the 1590 White/De Bry of Virginia, which is usually accorded this distinction.  There is an inlet on this 1587 map in the approximate actual location of the Bay that does not appear on Ortelius' first map of the Americas.  Since it is not named, the question is whether this inlet in fact represents the Chesapeake Bay.  The case for an affirmative answer lies in the word, Wingandekoa, near the inlet on the map.  This was the Native American word for the territory in the area of the Chesapeake Bay, as reported by Arthur Barlowe of Sir Walter Raleigh’s expedition of 1584.  Therefore, the appearance of this word on Ortelius's map indicates that the Dutch cartographer had access to Raleigh colony information in the preparation of this map, since knowledge of this area was not available from any other source at the time.  If this was the case, then Ortelius would most likely have also known about the large bay that appears on White's manuscript map, a Raleigh colony document, which all agree is the Chesapeake Bay.  That Ortelius had knowledge of the Virginia area prior to the publication of this map has recently been confirmed in an article by William C. Wooldridge in the Portolan (see below).  Here is cited correspondence to Ortelius from his nephew, Jacob Cole, who was living in London, specifically referring to Wingandekoa. See also the excellent book by Margaret Pritchard and Henry Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude, Mapping Colonial America, Map 1, for a fuller account of this aspect of the map.

The west coast of North America, although virtually unknown to Europeans at the time of the map, nevertheless has greater detail on this edition of the map than on the previous one.  Also, much detail is added to the interior of Mexico, both place names and an entire river system.  Another change is the addition of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific to this edition.    

Pritichard/ Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude, Map 1; Wooldridge, W. in The Portolan, Journal of the Washington Map Society, “Ortelius’s Chesapeake,” pp. 37-40, Winter 2004; Burden 64.  With thanks to Robert Augustyn for this description.


Price: $8,500.00

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