|Method||Copper engraved with hand colour|
|Published||Didaco Mendezio auctore. Auctore Hieron Chiaves. Cum Privilegio [Antwerp, 1603]|
|Dimensions||462 x 335 mm|
A trio of maps on a single plate, showing the historic regions of Peru, la Florida, and Guastecan, from the 1603 Latin edition of Ortelius' famous Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. The largest map of the three, on the left hand side of the plate, shows the northwestern part of South America, roughly corresponding to modern day Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela, along with the isthmus of Panama. Western Venezuala is here marked as 'Aurea Regio,' literally the 'Golden Territory.' Off the coast, a ship sails past the Galapagos, while another appears below a note describing the map's longitude as having been measured from Toledo. The title cartouche attributes the geography to one Didaco Mendezio, Diego Mendez, the cartographer for the viceroy of Peru.
The right hand side of the plate is made up of two maps. The one at top is significant for being the first separately printed map of Florida, and was the basis for all early maps of the region, particularly in regards to its mapping of river systems in the area. The map shows the whole extent of the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico all the way down to the Rio de las Palmas, effectively the modern border between Mexico and Texas, as well as much of the Bahamas and the Florida keys. The second map shows the region south of Las Palmas, along the western coast of the Gulf known formerly as Guastecan, after the original Huastec people that inhabited the area. Cities and towns are picked out in red, including the port city of Tampico and the early Spanish settlement at Panuco.
Abraham Ortelius (1527 -1598) was a Flemish cartographer, cosmographer, geographer and publisher and a contemporary of Gerard Mercator, with whom he travelled through Italy and France. Although it is Mercator who first used the word "Atlas" as a name for a collection of maps, it is Ortelius who is remembered as the creator of the first modern atlas. Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was the first systematically collated set of maps by different map makers in a uniform format. Three Latin editions as well as a Dutch, French and German edition of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum were published by 1572 and a further 25 editions printed before Ortelius' death in 1598. Several more were subsequently printed until around 1612. Ortelius is said to have been the first person to pose the question of the continents once being a single land mass before separating into their current positions.
Condition: Central vertical fold as issued. Some show-through from verso text. Tape residue to margins of verso from old mount. Latin text on verso.