16th Century Maps, 18th Century Maps, Copperplate, Engraving, Maps, Past/Present

Past/Present: Maps of America

Today we have a new P/P post, featuring two maps of North America. The earlier map, America sive India Nova, is one of the most striking early maps of the Western Hemisphere. Michael Mercator, grandson of Gerard, engraved this plate, the only known printed map by him. Cartographically, this map was based on Mercator’s landmark world map of 1587. This map is set within a circle surrounded by a design of interlocking acanthus leaves, cornucopias and insects. There are three inset maps, the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba and Florida, and Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. Also depicted are a Northwest Passage, a large island of New Guinea and a huge Antarctic continent. The later map, Hemisphere Occidental, is a circular map of North and South America, with the area above Cape Mendocino in California left unmapped. The oceans are marked with the tracks of several expeditions, including those of Halley, Mendana, Tasman and Magellan.

Image on Left: America sive India Nova by Michael Mercator.  Published by Rumold Mercator, Duisburg. Engraving, 1595 (c.1633).

Image on Right: Hemisphere Occidental: Dresse en 1720 pour l’usage particulier du Roy sur les Observations Astronomiques et Geographiques raportees la meme annee dans l’Histoire et dans les memoires de l’Academie Rle. des Sciences by Guillaume De L’Isle. Published by l’Academie Royale des Sciences. Handcolored engraving, 1724.






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