Blaeu's Scarce First Map of the Strait of Magellan
"Freti Magellanici ac Novi Freti Vulgo Le Maire Exactissima Delineatio", Hondius/Blaeu
Subject: Strait of Magellan
Period: 1635 (circa)
Publication: Novus Atlas
Color: Hand Color
19.4 x 14.8 inches
49.3 x 37.6 cm
Beautifully decorated map of the tip of South America with the Strait of Magellan and Le Maire Strait. The strategic importance of the place and the difficulties of navigation made this an important chart. In the center of Tierra del Fuego is text describing the passage by Barent Jansz. Potgieter, who accompanied captain Sebald de Weert to the Straits in 1599-1600, being the first Dutch vessels to sail through the Strait of Magellan. The coastlines of Tierra del Fuego (the land of fire) are incomplete. A quaint rendering of a huge Patagonian warrior and a tiny European accompanies a notation about the island's inhabitants. The map is richly engraved to shown the mountainous terrain and decorated with a central compass rose, galleons, wildlife (including sea lions shown with fish tails and lion's heads) and sea monsters in addition to the three cartouches. Engraved by D. Grijp. German text on verso, published in 1634-35.
This map has an interesting history. It was first published by Jodocus Hondius in his Appendix in 1629, however after Hondius' death on August 18, 1629, this plate was sold to Willem Jansz. Blaeu, who changed the imprint to his own and immediately published the map in his first atlas, Atlantis Appendix in 1630. Blaeu published this map for only 5 years before replacing it with a new map of the Strait of Magellan. Johannes Jansson had a new copy of this plate made by D. Grijp, the same engraver who had made the first plate, for use in his 1630 Atlantis Maioris Appendix, however this second plate omitted some of the decorative elements of the first, including that of the Patagonian warrior.
References: Van der Krogt (Vol. II) #9950:2A..
A crisp impression on watermarked paper with light soiling, minor show-through of text on verso, a few spots of foxing confined to the blank margins, and light toning along the edges of the sheet. A tear confined to the left blank margin has been closed on verso with old paper.