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Stunning 1595 example of Ortelius' landmark map of the Pacific Ocean.

Place/Date: Antwerp / 1595
Title: Maris Pacifici
34.5 x 49.7 cm (13.6 x 19.6 in)
Hand color
Condition Rating


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.


Abraham Ortelius

Abraham Ortelius was a cartographer and geographer, conventionally recognized as the creator of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World). He was one of the most notable figures of the Dutch school of cartography during its golden age (approximately 1570s–1670s).

Condition Description

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.

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