Item #5923 Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio. A. ORTELIUS.
The First Atlas Map of the Americas
The Second Plate
[Antwerp, 1579/ 1587]

Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio.

14 x 19 ½ inches, Fine old hand color; excellent condition.

An excellent example of the second plate (see below) of this important map. It was the "first map of the Americas to appear in a modern atlas," (Schwartz) and one that “had a great influence on the future cartography of the New World” (Burden). When this map was issued, the coastal areas of the North America had still been only partially explored, and Europeans were just beginning settlement and colonization in this area. In fact, the first English attempt at North American colonization, the Roanoke Colony along the Outer Banks of the Carolina, was just underway when this map was first published. Thus, at this critical historical juncture, it was Ortelius' map that provided Europeans with their best general view of the Americas.

            Ortelius’ map reveals an already quite well developed Spanish empire in Latin America with settlements clustered in northwestern South America, the area of gold and silver mining, and throughout Mexico and the Caribbean.  This is quite remarkable given that Spain attempted to keep its geographical information secret and forbade by law the printing of maps. Ortelius’ mapping of the Spanish Empire here is just one example of his ability to access a wide range sources, including Spanish mapmakers.  In its design and engraving, this map is justly regarded as one of the most satisfying of all of Ortelius' work, with its classical, architectural cartouche and the fluted corners providing balance and elegance.

            This plate two of Ortelius’ Americas map is virtually identical to plate one, suggesting that the new plate was made to replace one that was either worn out or damaged.  The two plates can most easily be distinguished by differences in the largest ship in the Pacific: in plate one the outside of the ship’s billowing sails faces the viewer, while in plate two one sees the insides of the sail.

* Burden 39, plate 2.

Price: $7,000.00

See all items in Antique Maps
See all items by