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

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

ONLY THREE KNOWN EXAMPLES. THE FIRST PRINTED MAP TO NAME THE PACIFIC OCEAN, ‘MARE DEL SUR’. The name South Sea given to the Pacific Ocean after Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1475-1519) sighted it from the Isthmus of Panama in 1513, looking towards the south.

A third known example of one of the rarest early printed American maps. Until 1929 only one known example of this map survived which was acquired by James Lennox in 1853 and now forms part of the New York Public Library. Then in 1929 the John Carter Brown Library of Providence, Rhode Island, acquired the only known copy of the book containing this map.

This woodcut map was produced it is believed by Giovanni Battista Ramusio (1485-1557), the compiler of a collection of three works published in Venice, 1534. The first part was the work of Peter Martyr d’Anghiera (c.1457-1526), the second was Fernández de Oviedo’s (1478-1557). The third was a translation from an anonymous account of the discoveries in Peru which was published in Seville earlier in the same year entitled ‘La Conquista del Peru’. All three parts were reissued in volume 3 of Giovanni Battista Ramusio’s ‘Navigationi et Viaggi’ in 1556.

The map should appear in the last part of the book but is lacking in all but one known example. Its title “relates that the source of the cartography is two nautical charts made in Seville by pilots of His Imperial Majesty. In the text it is stated that the first of these was a chart in the possession of Peter Martyr made by Nuño Garcia de Toreno; the other’s name is not given but appears clearly to be the magnificent Diego Ribero planisphere of 1529 (see plate XIV). Although it does not record as much detail as its sources, it gave the people of Europe an excellent idea of the shape of the New World” (Burden).

“Shipping activity there is shown at a very early stage, recording the fact that already the Spanish were sending the mineral wealth of the newly conquered lands of Peru back to Panama, over the Isthmus, and on to Europe. Similarly, vessels are shown, implying a shipping lane from the Strait of Magellan, named for the first time, to Asia. It is interesting to note that after Ferdinand Magellan’s first crossing some fourteen years earlier only one voyage across the ocean has been recorded, that of Garcia Jofre de Loyasa between 1525 and 1529. The Yucatan is still shown as an island, and the West Indies for the first time as a reasonably accurate chain of islands. In North America ‘lavorator’ appears again as does ‘Bacalaos’. Estebãn Gomez’s voyage is recalled with his name marking an area around the present-day New England coastline. ‘Licentiato ailon’ on the Carolina coastline depicts where Lucas Vásquez Ayllón attempted unsuccessfully to start a colony, and Florida is named again” (Burden). Bifolco & Ronca (2018) I.48 bis; Borba de Moraes (1958) vol. 2, p. 32; Burden (1996-2007) 10; Church (1907) no. 69; Cortesão (1960-62) vol. 1, p. 103; Cumming (1962) p. 7 (Ayllon); Harrisse (1866) no. 190; Harrisse (1892) p. 596; Holzheimer & Buisseret (1992); Howgego (2003) B8; Nebenzahl (1990) p. 96; Polk (1991) p. 69; Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004); Winsor (1884) p. 20-1; Wroth (1944) p. 146.

RAMUSIO, Giovanni Battista

La carta uniuersale della terra firma & Isole delle Indie occidetali ... M.D.XXXIIII. Del/ mese di Dicembre.

Venice, 1534
530 x 425 mm., in very old outline colour and very good condition.
Stock number: 8474


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