Blaeu's Scarce First Map of the Strait of Magellan
"Freti Magellanici ac Novi Freti Vulgo Le Maire Exactissima Delineatio", Blaeu, Willem
Subject: Tierra del Fuego
Period: 1631 (published)
Publication: Appendix Theatri A. Ortelii et Atlantis G. Mercatoris...
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. This was an important chart for a region of strategic importance that was difficult to navigate. In the center of Tierra del Fuego there is text describing the passage by Barent Jansz. Potgieter, who accompanied Captain Sebald de Weert to the Straits in 1599-1600; they were the first Dutch expedition 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. It is decorated with a central compass rose, three ornate cartouches, galleons, wildlife (including sea lions shown with fish tails and lion's heads), and sea monsters. Engraved by D. Grijp. Latin text on verso.
This map has an interesting history. It was first published by Jodocus Hondius in his Appendix in 1629. After Hondius' death on August 18, 1629, the 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 the Patagonian warrior.
References: Van der Krogt (Vol. II) #9950:2A.2.
A crisp impression with very light toning along the centerfold, marginal soiling, and some show-through of text on verso. The centerfold is reinforced with archival tissue on verso.