The First Printed Map Devoted to the Pacific
"Maris Pacifici, (quod vulgo Mar del Zur)", Ortelius, Abraham
Subject: Pacific Ocean
Period: 1589 (dated)
Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
Color: Hand Color
19.5 x 13.5 inches
49.5 x 34.3 cm
Ortelius’ seminal map of the Pacific is the first printed map devoted to the Pacific and the first to label the Americas separately as North and South subsequent to Mercator’s 1538 world map. The map draws on the cartography of Frans Hogenberg, Mercator’s world map of 1569, and Portuguese manuscript maps of Bartolomeo de Lasso. It widens the gap between Asia and North America while properly locating the Philippines and Japan, although there is an odd Isla de Plata above Japan. North America is depicted considerably narrower and more correctly at the Tropic of Cancer, and the head of the Gulf of California is shown in a new form with the R. Grande being introduced for the first time, although misplaced. The large southern continent, Terra Australis, stretches over the bottom of the map, but the name Tierra del Fuego appears south of the Strait of Magellan. The map is adorned with two elaborate cartouches and Magellan’s surviving ship Victoria is pictured along with two smaller ships. First state with the date 1589 in the cartouche. Latin text on verso with printed number 6 and ex Limano portu in the last line, indicating a published date of 1601.
References: Burden #74; Cohen, p. 31-33; Goss (NA) #14; Wheat (TMW) #24; van den Broecke #12; Suarez, p. 46, 65.
The map has been professionally cleaned with a tear that extends 3" into map adjacent to the equator and a centerfold separation at bottom extending 1.5" into the map, both of which have been almost invisibly repaired. A number of chips and tears in the blank margins have also been repaired, with a tiny bit of the lower left neatline skillfully replaced in facsimile. There is a small spot just below the large ship and a few tiny abrasions along the centerfold.