Ortelius Regions of the New World


Abraham Ortelius.  “La Florida. Auctore Hieron. Chiaves.”/ “Peruviae Aurieferae Regionis Typus. Didaco Mendezio Auctore.”/ “Guastecan Reg.” From Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.  Antwerp, [1584].  6 x 8 3/4; 13 x 8 3/4; 6 3/4 x 8 3/4, respectively.  Overall 13 x 18.  Engraving.  Original hand color.  Very good condition.  French text on verso.

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A three-part map of the New World by Abraham Ortelius, the ‘father of modern cartography.’  Of particular importance is the first printed map of the American southeast, the fascinating “La Florida.”  This was the name given to the entire southeast at the time, the region stretching along the Atlantic from the Carolinas to the Mexican coast.  This map is based on actual information gathered during De Soto’s explorations of the area in the early 1540s, and it presents the first printed image of the interior of the American southeast, showing Indian settlements, mountains and waterways discovered by De Soto.  The other two maps on the sheet are of present-day Peru (the source of gold and silver for the Spanish) and eastern Mexico.  Together, the three maps describe in wonderful detail and decorative form the most significant parts of the New World in the second half of the sixteenth century.  They show the source of Spanish gold in three juxtaposed panels that are fit together to convey maximum cartographic information.

The maps are the unmistakable work of Abraham Ortelius, considered to be one of the two greatest cartographers of the sixteenth century, and whose Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was the first modern atlas. This printing first appeared in the third supplement to the atlas, the 1584 Additamentum.  Containing the earliest printed map of the southeast and with two other maps of regions of central importance to early American history, this is a map of highest interest to the American collector.