"Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio", Mercator, Gerard
Subject: North Pole
Period: 1613 (circa)
Publication: Gerard Mercatoris Atlas sive Cosmographicae Meditationes
Color: Black & White
15.5 x 14.5 inches
39.4 x 36.8 cm
This influential map was the first devoted to the Arctic. The hemisphere is surrounded by a floral design with four roundels in each corner. These contain the title, the Faeroe Isles, the Shetland Isles, and the mythical island of Frisland. The North Pole is shown according to legend as a large rock in a giant whirlpool and surrounded by four islands that are separated by rivers, with one of the islands noted as being inhabited by pygmies. The magnetic north is depicted as a separate island rock just outside the polar mass. In North America is a very early reference to California (California regio, sola fama Hispanis nota), curiously shown north of the El streto de Anian. The map depicts the attempts of Frobisher and Davis to locate the northern passages to Asia. This is the second state of the plate with updates in the region north of Russia including undefined coastlines to one of the islands surrounding the pole and Nova Zemla. Latin text on verso.
References: Burden #88; Kershaw #24.
Very good impression with foxing confined to large, blank margins. Tiny fold separation in margin at bottom.