SOLD: 1595 Ortelius - Maris Pacifici

SOLD: 1595 Ortelius - Maris Pacifici

SOLD: Stunning 1595 example of Ortelius Maris Pacifici


Maris Pacifici

Map maker:

Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Place and Year:

Antwerp, 1595


34.5 x 49.7 cm (13.6 x 19.6 in)


Copperplate engraving


Hand colored

Condition Rating:


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This was the first printed map to be devoted solely to the Pacific, and the first to name North and South America separately.  Lower right a large presentation of Ferdinand Magellan's ship "Victoria" sailing westward on the first voyage around the world.

The map includes most of North and South America, with a vast Terra Australia Sive Magellanica Nondum Detecta which slopes north sharply to join with Java a myth started by Mercator, who had misunderstood Marco Polo.

It was also the first map to depict the islands of New Guinea and Japan as being closer to Asia than America, although the Pacific is still many degrees too narrow, a mistake that continued partly out of the desperate desire of many sailors to sail west to the Indies. Japan is drawn in a turtle-shape with a large Isla de Plata above.

Ortelius used Spanish manuscripts to correct many of his misconceptions about America, but it is unclear what his sources were for some of the other corrections.  He has corrected the width of America considerably, so that it is now quite narrow on the Tropic of Capricorn; as Wagner points out, this has the effect of moving the peninsular of California, correctly, to the east.


Good margins.  Minor discoloration on the extremities of the center fold.  Repair of split lower part center fold, 4cm. into the engraved area.  Very good condition.




Burden 74; Koeman, I.C. Atlantes Neerlandici, III, p. 62; Wagner, H. Cartography of the Northwest Coast, p. 74, no. 156