Mercator's Foundation Map for the Americas
"America sive India Nova, ad Magnae Gerardi Mercatoris aui Universalis Imitationem, in Compendium Redacta", Mercator, Michael
Subject: Western Hemisphere - America
Period: 1596 (published)
Publication: Botero's Allgemeine Weltbeschreibung
Color: Hand Color
18 x 14.3 inches
45.7 x 36.3 cm
This is one of the most famous maps of the Americas and an important foundation map for an American map collection. After the death of his grandfather, Michael Mercator produced this stunning hemispherical map, the only known printed map attributed to him. The map is surrounded by a beautifully engraved floral design and four roundels, one of which contains the title. The other insets include the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba, and Haiti. The geography was patterned after Rumold Mercator's world map of 1587, with a little added detail. There is a large inland lake in Canada, and the St. Lawrence River extends nearly halfway across the continent with no Great Lakes. There is a still a bulge in the east coast of South America. The large southern continent extends above the Tropic of Capricorn in the Pacific where there is a very large island of New Guinea. Above North America are two of the four islands of the North Pole, with the great mythical rivers flowing from the pole. The seas are full of mythical islands, including St. Brendain, Frislant and Sept citez. No text on verso.
References: Burden #87.
The map has been trimmed to inside the outer neatline and fully remargined with neatline in expert facsimile. There are professional repairs to a 4.5" tear adjacent to the centerfold that extends from bottom to "El Mar Pacifico." A skilled conservator executed this restoration and is only discernible when held up to strong light.