1613 Mercator Antique Map of America & The Great Southern Land - Terra Australis

Cartographer :Gerald Mercator

  • Title : America sive India Nova. ad magna Gerardi Mercatoris aui Universalis imitationem in compendium redacta. Per Michaelem Mercatorem Duysburgensem
  • Ref #:  61033
  • Size: 20 1/2in x 17 1/2in (510mm x 445mm)
  • Date : 1613
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition

This fine beautifully hand coloured original antique early map of America and the Great Southern Continent (Terra Australis) that was envisaged in the southern Hemisphere, prior to the discovery of Australia by Captain Cook in 1769 - the only map attributed to Gerard Mercator's Grandson Michael - was published in the 1633 French edition of Mercator's Atlas.
This map is magnificent with beautiful original hand colouring, wide margins and stable paper. Backed with transparent archival Japanese paper. Original colouring such as this is scarce and hard to find.

Condition Report:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, red, green, orange, blue
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 21 1/2in x 17 3/4in (545mm x 450mm)
Plate size: - 18 1/2in x 14 3/4in (470mm x 376mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - Light soiling in margins
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

Background: Largely based on Rumold Mercator's world map of 1587, this map aptly reflects 16th-century knowledge, theories and suppositions regarding the New World. Naturally, most of this new knowledge was coastal, and configurations of any large areas were greatly hampered by the lack of a sound means of determining longitude. Nevertheless, the collective accomplishment of explorers and mapmakers represented in this map is astounding, showing in a generally correct way the vast extent of the New World. "A few of the most famous theories are still present: a large inland lake in Canada, two of the four islands of the North Pole, a bulge to the west coast of South America and the large southern continent" (Burden).
The map appeared in 1595 and 1606 editions of the Atlantis Pars Altera , after which the plate was sold to Jodocus Hondius, who reissued the maps in varying editions through 1639. The present example includes French text on verso, confirming it to be a Hondius issue.

Several of the more fascinating theories are present, including the multiple islands of the North Polar Sea, bulging South America and vast unknown southern continent. The St. Lawrence crosses half the continent. No sign of the English in Virginia. The search for a water course across North America is interupted only by some mid-continental mountains. Evidence of the Spanish explorations in the Southwest is present and the Colorado and Gila Rivers already reflect a good knowledge of this area, as does the peninsular Baja California, based upon Uloa's work.
The depiction of the NW Passage and Western North America are also of great interest. Annotations reference the voyages of Columbus and Magellan.(Ref: Burden; Koeman; Tooley; M&B)