rare maps
Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints
antique maps

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13
Email: enquiries@caburden.com

Previous Page Next Page
COMPLETE WITH THE FIRST PRINTED MAP TO DISPLAY VIRGINIA AND NEW MEXICO, no trace of an example with the map at auction in 100 years.

Peter Martyr d’Anghiera (1457-1526) was born in Arona, Italy and became a historian in the service of Spain. He wrote two letters in 1493 and 1494 to Cardinal Sforza describing the voyages of Christopher Columbus. These formed part of the series of eight so called Decades describing various accounts of exploration up to Hernando Cortes in 1525. It includes an account of Vasco Nunez de Balboa’s discovery of the Pacific Ocean in the second. The fifth describes the conquest of the Aztec and the circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan. The sixth discusses the west coast from Davila’s account. The seventh records Francisco de Chicora, a native taken captive in present-day South Carolina. They were first printed collectively in 1530 before here being edited by Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616) for printing in Paris in 1587 as ‘De Orbe Novo’.

Richard Hakluyt is extremely important in encouraging English expansion overseas during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. His publications of travels in foreign lands were of enormous influence. The ‘De Orbe Novo’ was produced to elicit interest in English exploration in the competitive age of discovery. This edition in Latin is the entire work, edited and annotated by Hakluyt himself. It forms an important part of his encouragement to compete with the French and Spanish in the riches coming from America.

Hakluyt is best known for his monumental work entitled ‘The Principall Navigations’ first published in 1589 and later expanded. He is considered without question the principal writer of world voyages in the English language in the late sixteenth century. Discovering much of this information was not easy however, but he was fortunate to be appointed secretary and chaplain to Sir Edmund Stafford, the English Ambassador in Paris from 1583-88. He worked his way into Parisian society and published several travel related works including an account of the French presence in Florida in 1587. Hakluyt was almost certainly working to collect much of this information for Elizabeth’s famous spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. Indeed a 1584 letter from Hakluyt to Walsingham writes of his opinion that money spent on a lecture on modern navigation, ‘wold be the best hundred pounds bestowed’.

Hakluyt had the vision to see that England was in danger of falling far behind the other nations in the race for colonies. It is interesting to note that this edition of ‘De Orbe Novo’ is dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh, an apparent promotional piece for his cause. Hakluyt and Raleigh were at Oxford together and in the same year 1587 Raleigh would support an English colonial attempt at Roanoke. Hakluyt was closely involved with this voyage and along with Thomas Hariot was one of Raleigh’s closest advisors. Hakluyt corresponded with Ralph Lane and other members on the Roanoke Colony and kept an eye out for reports of Spanish or French activity along the American coast. He would study these reports from Virginia and in 1587 “had written to Raleigh. Reaffirming that the ‘best planting will be about the bay of Chesapians” … In 1607 the English did indeed settle a colony in Chesapeake Bay at Jamestown. Hakluyt is described by Trevelyan as “one of the great remembered Elizabethans, a man of vision, to become one of the chief propagandists for an English settlement in North America.”

This is an extremely rare work appearing only four times at auction in the last thirty years, all lacking the printed map. A map of such importance that I will quote directly from my book. “Hakluyt was resident in Paris between 1583 and 1588, as Chaplain to the English Ambassador to France, Sir Edward Stafford. As a scholar of geography this sojourn gave him an invaluable chance to study continental records of voyages and travel. Frequently missing from the book, the map does not really bear any relation to the text within; indeed, Borba de Moraes believes that it was placed in the book after publication. It is possible that it was intended for an earlier work by Richard Hakluyt and that it was not ready at the time. This could possibly have been ‘El viaje que hizo Antonio de Espejo’ which he published in Paris in 1586. The cartographical correlation with this book is far stronger as will be seen later.

“There are a number of questions relating to this map. The doubt over its publication has already been raised, and even the identity of the engraver is uncertain. At first unknown, ‘F.G.S.’ was later taken to mean Filips Galle S(cripsit), the engraver and instigator of the miniature Ortelius atlas. However, in the lower left of the map appears a monogram noted in Nordenskiöld as being that of Leonardo Galter or Gaultier. This is more likely to be the engraver of the map. It makes far more sense for Hakluyt to have used someone resident in Paris rather than in Antwerp, and Gaultier was a well-known and prolific engraver of the period. The question then left unanswered is the meaning of the initials ‘F.G.S.’ They could only be either letters attached to Hakluyt’s name or a reference to the publisher of the map. The author, believing them to be more likely the former, has been unable to identify their meaning.

“Geographically it is a remarkable map, superior in many ways to those before it. The general shape of the continent is improved with the removal of the bulge to the west coast of South America, so prevalent in other maps of the period. The huge westward protuberance of the north-west of North America has also disappeared leaving a more recognisable coastline. Japan is positioned more accurately near the Asian coastline, with an unidentified line extending from it to California. One other feature common to maps of this period is also lacking, that of the southern continent. During Sir Francis Drake’s voyage around the world in 1577-80, having passed through the Strait of Magellan he found himself driven south by storms, possibly as far as 57o. This position south of Tierra del Fuego was amongst a series of archipelagos with no sign of a continental land mass. Drake’s presence here is recognised by the legend ‘Ins. Reginæ Elizabetæ 1579 ab Anglis’. In North America we also see an early reference to Drake on the west coast with ‘NOVA ALBION. Inuenta An.1580. ab Anglis’. A curious point about both the references to Drake is that the dates are both one year too late. This is probably an error, however it is thought that Queen Elizabeth I wanted to protect England’s new found knowledge and deceive her rivals with erroneous information.

“Here we find the first mention of ‘Nvevo Mexico’ on a printed map, and the first appearance of an inland lake in the west. This knowledge probably derives from António de Espejo who was sent out as a rescue party in 1582 to find three missing Franciscan friars. On his return he told of a large inland lake within the country he visited. The account of this voyage was first published in Madrid, 1586. Later in the same year Hakluyt published it privately in Paris and was instrumental in its translation and publication in French. This leads us back to the author’s supposition that the map was intended for one of these two latter works. The map is largely derived from Spanish and English sources, the former being given prime importance by the use of a meridian through Toledo. Various English references were then added by Hakluyt to encourage his country’s exploration in those waters. One English name is the first printed cartographic use of Virginia with the legend ‘Virginea 1584’. Walter Raleigh had been given the right to colonise the east coast of North America and after an exploratory voyage in 1584 settled upon Roanoke Island (North Carolina). The area was named after the ‘Virgin Queen’. The Carolina Banks are here depicted for the first time” (Burden).

Provenance: With pencil inscription ‘collated perfect O’Kelly 15/xi/[19]71’ inside back cover; private country house library; Forum Auctions 26 January 2023 lot 262. Adams M-753; Borba de Moraes (1958) vol. 2, p. 31; Burden (1996) 63; Church (1907) 133; Cumming (1962) no. 9; Delpar (1980) p. 175; The A. E. Nordenskiöld Collection no. 581; Parks (1961); Sabin 1552; Skelton (1974) vol. 1, pp. 50-65; Trevelyan, Raleigh (2003) ‘Sir Walter Raleigh’; Tyler (1952); Wagner (1937) pp. 82-3; Wagner (1926); Wallis (1977) item 73, see p. 39; Wheat (1957) vol. 1, p. 26; Wroth (1944) p. 171 (erroneously calling it a world map).


De Orbe Novo Petri Anglerii Mediolanensis, Protonotarii, & Caroli quinti Senatoris Decades octo ...

Guillelmum Avvray, Paris, 1587
Octavo (170 x 110 mm), later vellum binding, ink title to the spine. Typographic title page with woodcut printer’s device, woodcut chapter initials, italic type, pp. [16], 1-605, [25], with the exceedingly rare engraved map in very good condition.
Stock number: 10762


Send us your name and email address.
We'll add you to our subscriber list and alert you to new catalogues and similar news