Item #5954 Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio. A. ORTELIUS.
An Impeccable Example of the First Atlas Map To Show America
In Vibrant Original Color
Americas/ Virginia.
[Antwerp, 1587 [1595]]

Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio.

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

In vibrant original color, this is a spectacular example of Ortelius' second map (though third plate) of the Americas, improving upon its predecessor in many important ways (see below), most apparently in the removal of the large bulge on the west coast of South America.

This updated revision of the "first map of the Americas to appear in a modern atlas," (Schwartz) had like its predecessor “a great influence on the future cartography of the New World” (Burden). When it was originally issued, the coastal areas of North America had still been only partially explored, and Europeans were just beginning settlement and colonization in this area of the Americas. In fact, the first English attempt at North American colonization, the Roanoke Colony along the Outer Banks of the Carolina, was just underway, and thus at this critical historical juncture, it was Ortelius' map that provided Europeans with their best general view of the Americas during the last quarter of the 16th century.

Perhaps the most intriguing geographical feature to appear on this map is an inlet in the approximate location of the Chesapeake Bay that does not appear on Ortelius’ first map of the Americas. This delineation at this date appears to entitle it to be considered as the first, acquirable printed map to show the Chesapeake Bay, predating the 1590 White/De Bry of Virginia, which is usually accorded this distinction. The case for this is buttressed by the word Wingandekoa near the inlet to the Bay. 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 and its appearance on Ortelius's map indicates that he must have had unusual access to Raleigh colony information so early on. 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 historians agree is the Chesapeake Bay.  That Ortelius had knowledge of the Virginia area prior to the publication of his map has recently been confirmed in an article by William C. Wooldridge in the Portolan (see below).  Here he cites 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.

Price: $7,800.00

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