1597 Cornelis Wytfliet Antique Map Early Important Map of California & SW America

Cartographer :Cornelis van Wytfliet

A fine original antique, and incredibly important map the first to focus on California & the SW was published by Cornelis van Wytfliet in the 1597 edition of Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum.

The first printed map devoted to California and the south-west of the present day United States. One of the most interesting features is the depiction of so many fabled places largely from Spanish sources. Most notable amongst these are the seven cities of Cibola. The seven cities originated from the narrative of Fray Marcos de Niza in 1539. Some of the other nomenclature originates from Coronados epic exploration. The outline map is fairly accurate and is derived largely from Petrus Plancius large world map of 1592. The main coastal irregularity is the westward slant of the Californian coastline. Bearing in mind that it would be shown as part of an island in twenty five years, this is quite forgivable. No other states of the map are known and all issues are without text on the back (Burden 106).

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: -
Colors used: -
General color appearance: -
Paper size: - 15in x 12in (380mm x 305mm)
Plate size: - 11 1/4in x 9 1/4in (285mm x 235mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - None
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None


In 1597 Cornelis van Wytfliet published his Augmentum to Ptolemys Geography. Dedicated to Philip III of Spain it is a history of the New World to date, recording its discovery, natural history etc. For the book Wytfliet had engraved nineteen maps, by whom we do not know, one of the world and eighteen regional maps of the Americas. As such this book can be truly called the first atlas of the New World, America.

Wytfliet, Cornelis van d. 1597
Cornelius Wytfliet or Cornelis van Wytfliet was a geographer from Leuven in the Habsburg Netherlands, best known for producing the first atlas of the Americas.
Cornelius was the son of Catherine Huybrechts and her husband, Gregorius Wytfliet, who was advocate fiscal of Leuven University from 1557 to 1594. After graduating Licentiate in Laws from the University of Leuven, Wytfliet moved to Brussels and became secretary to the Council of Brabant. He died in or shortly after 1597, when his Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum (a work adding new discoveries to Ptolemys description of the world) was published