MERCATOR, Michael (1565/70-1614)
America sive India Nova ad magnae Gerardi Mercatoris avi Universalis imitationem in compendium redacta
[Amsterdam: Hondius, circa, 1628]. Copper-engraved map, early hand-colouring. French text on verso. Roundels at each corner with inset maps of the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba and Hispaniola, the remaining containing the cartouche. (Expert restoration at sheet edges). Sheet size: 16 x 21 inches.
A fine example of one of the most celebrated maps of the Americas, the only printed map by Gerard Mercator's grandson Michael.
Made by Gerard's grandson Michael to complete the atlas begun by Gerard in 1584 ( Atlantis Pars Altera ), this map is noted for its outstanding design and beauty, particularly its symmetrical configuration of circular insets and Mannerist flow of vines, flowers and leaves surrounding the circular map.
Largely based on Rumold Mercator's world map of 1587, this map aptly reflects 16th-century knowledge, theories and suppositions regarding the New World. Naturally, most of this new knowledge was coastal, and configurations of any large areas were greatly hampered by the lack of a sound means of determining longitude. Nevertheless, the collective accomplishment of explorers and mapmakers represented in this map is astounding, showing in a generally correct way the vast extent of the New World. "A few of the most famous theories are still present: a large inland lake in Canada, two of the four islands of the North Pole, a bulge to the west coast of South America and the large southern continent" (Burden).
The map appeared in 1595 and 1606 editions of the Atlantis Pars Altera , after which the plate was sold to Jodocus Hondius, who reissued the maps in varying editions through 1639. The present example includes French text on verso (confirming it to be a Hondius issue), with signature mark "S" on verso, suggesting it to be from a 1628 edition of the atlas (see Koeman Me 28a).
Burden, The Mapping of North America I, 87; Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici, Me 28a; Goss, The Mapping of North America, 19; America Emergent 12.