Early and Imaginary Map of Alaska and the Northwest Passage
"Limes Occidentis Quivira et Anian", Wytfliet, Cornelis
Subject: Alaska & Western Canada
Period: 1597 (dated)
Publication: Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum
Color: Black & White
11.4 x 9.2 inches
29 x 23.4 cm
This early copper plate engraving depicts the northwestern coast of North America and is generally considered the first map of Alaska, even though it is mostly an imaginary depiction. The general shape of the map is based on Gerard Mercator's world map of 1569. The mythical realms of Anian, Quivera and Tolm fill the interior and numerous place names are shown along the coastline. Several rivers are shown including a large one that flows into the sea to the north, which forms the fabled Northwest Passage. Map is adorned with a spectacular compass rose. First state with date present in cartouche.
References: Burden #107; Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #307-14; Wagner #189.
A dark impression on watermarked paper with faint toning along the centerfold and three small worm holes in the image, only visible when held to light. A worm track in the bottom blank margin has been archivally repaired.