1589 Gerard Mercator Original 1st Ed. Antique Map of German State of Hesse

Cartographer : Gerard Mercator

This fine original and extremely scarce 1st edition antique map of the German State of Hesse or Hessia in central Germany was published by Gerard Mercator.
These original maps by Gerard Mercator from his original 16th century atlas are rare and hard to find. These original map are identifiable by the design on the verso of the map without the long description, scroll design and were engraved prior to the sale of Mercators plates to Hondius in the first decade of the 17th century.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Early
Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 22 1/2in x 19in (570mm x 485mm)
Plate size: - 16 1/4in x 13 1/2in (415mm x 345mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - None
Plate area: - Light browning along centerfold, light age toning
Verso: - Small repair to top centerfold

As early as the Paleolithic period, the Central Hessian region was inhabited. Due to the favorable climate of the location, people lived there about 50,000 years ago during the last glacial period, as burial sites show from this era. Finds of paleolitical tools in southern Hesse in Rüsselsheim suggest Pleistocene hunters about 13,000 years ago. The Züschen tomb (German: Steinkammergrab von Züschen, sometimes also Lohne-Züschen) is a prehistoric burial monument, located between Lohne and Züschen, near Fritzlar, Hesse, Germany. Classified as a gallery grave or a Hessian-Westphalian stone cist (hessisch-westfälische Steinkiste), it is one of the most important megalithic monuments in Central Europe. Dating to the late fourth millennium BC (and possibly remaining in use until the early third), it belongs to the Late Neolithic Wartberg culture.
An early Celtic presence in what is now Hesse is indicated by a mid-fifth-century BC La Tène-style burial uncovered at Glauberg. The region was later settled by the Germanic Chatti tribe around the first century BC, and the name Hesse is a continuation of that tribal name.
The ancient Romans had a military camp in Dorlar, and in Waldgirmes directly on the eastern outskirts of Wetzlar was a civil settlement under construction. Presumably, the provincial government for the occupied territories of the right bank of Germania was planned at this location. The governor of Germania, at least temporarily, likely had resided here. The settlement appears to have been abandoned by the Romans after the devastating Battle of the Teutoburg Forest failed in the year 9 AD. The Chatti were also involved in the Revolt of the Batavi in 69 AD.
Hessia, from the early seventh century on, served as a buffer between areas dominated by the Saxons (to the north) and the Franks, who brought the area to the south under their control in the early sixth century and occupied Thuringia (to the east) in 531. Hessia occupies the northwestern part of the modern German state of Hesse; its borders were not clearly delineated. Its geographic center is Fritzlar; it extends in the southeast to Hersfeld on the Fulda River, in the north to past Kassel and up to the rivers Diemel and Weser. To the west, it occupies the valleys of the Rivers Eder and Lahn (the latter until it turns south). It measured roughly 90 kilometers north-south, and 80 north-west.
The area around Fritzlar shows evidence of significant pagan belief from the first century on. Geismar was a particular focus of such activity; it was continuously occupied from the Roman period on, with a settlement from the Roman period, which itself had a predecessor from the fifth century BC. Excavations have produced a horse burial and bronze artifacts. A possible religious cult may have centered on a natural spring in Geismar, called Heilgenbron; the name \"Geismar\" (possibly \"energetic pool\") itself may be derived from that spring. The village of Maden, Gudensberg (de), now a part of Gudensberg near Fritzlar and less than ten miles from Geismar, was likely an ancient religious center; the basalt outcrop of Gudensberg is named for Wodan, and a two-meter tall quartz megalith called the Wotanstein is in the center of the village.
By 650, the Franks were establishing themselves as overlords, which is suggested by archeological evidence of burials, and were building fortifications in various places, including Christenberg. By 690, they were taking direct control over Hessia, apparently to counteract expansion by the Saxons, who built fortifications in Gaulskopf and Eresburg across the River Diemel, the northern boundary of Hessia. The Büraburg (which already had a Frankish settlement in the sixth century) was one of the places the Franks fortified to resist the Saxon pressure, and according to John-Henry Clay, the Büraburg was \"probably the largest man-made construction seen in Hessia for at least seven hundred years\". Walls and trenches totaling one kilometer in length were made, and they enclosed \"8 hectares of a spur that offered a commanding view over Fritzlar and the densely populated heart of Hessia\".
Following Saxon incursions into Chattish territory in the seventh century, two gaue had been established—a Frankish one, comprising an area around Fritzlar and Kassel, and a Saxon one. In the 9th century, the Saxon Hessengau also came under the rule of the Franconians. In the 12th, century it was passed to Thuringia.
In the War of the Thuringian Succession (1247–1264), Hesse gained its independence and became a Landgraviate within the Holy Roman Empire. It shortly rose to primary importance under Landgrave Philip the Magnanimous, who was one of the leaders of German Protestantism. After Philip\'s death in 1567, the territory was divided among his four sons from his first marriage (Philip was a bigamist) into four lines: Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), Hesse-Darmstadt, Hesse-Rheinfels, and the also previously existing Hesse-Marburg. As the latter two lines died out quite soon (1583 and 1605, respectively), Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Darmstadt were the two core states within the Hessian lands. Several collateral lines split off during the centuries, such as in 1622, when Hesse-Homburg split off from Hesse-Darmstadt. In the late 16th century, Kassel adopted Calvinism, while Darmstadt remained Lutheran and subsequently the two lines often found themselves on different sides of a conflict, most notably in the disputes over Hesse-Marburg and in the Thirty Years\' War, when Darmstadt fought on the side of the Emperor, while Kassel sided with Sweden and France.
The Landgrave Frederick II (1720–1785) ruled as a benevolent despot, 1760–1785. He combined Enlightenment ideas with Christian values, cameralist plans for central control of the economy, and a militaristic approach toward diplomacy. He funded the depleted treasury of the poor nation by renting out 19,000 soldiers in complete military formations to Great Britain to fight in North America during the American Revolutionary War, 1776–1783. These soldiers, commonly known as Hessians, fought under the British flag. The British used the Hessians in several conflicts, including in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. For further revenue, the soldiers were rented out elsewhere, as well. Most were conscripted, with their pay going to the Landgrave.