Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio by: Gerard Mercator, 1587 - Fine Print Reproduction
1587 / 1620 Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio
1587 / 1620 Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio
Load image into Gallery viewer, Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio by: Gerard Mercator, 1587 - Fine Print Reproduction
Load image into Gallery viewer, 1587 / 1620 Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio
Load image into Gallery viewer, 1587 / 1620 Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio

1587 / 1620 Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio

The Vintage Map Shop, Inc.

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By: Gerard Mercator / Jodocus Hondius

Date of Original: 1587 / 1620 (published) Amsterdam

Original Size: 12.75 x 21 inches (32.5 x 53.25 cm) 

This is a fine print reproduction of an important and influential Mercator map of the world that was first printed in Geneva in 1587 while Gerard Mercator was still alive, and again in 1620 by Jodocus Hondius. The map was directly influenced by Gerard himself and is an important element in the history of cartography due to its geography and its maker. Though the map uses double-hemisphere format rather than the Mercator Projection, it is in fact a reduced version of Gerard’s 1569 wall map of the world in which he introduced his famous projection.

Australia and Tierra del Fuego are shown to be parts of an enormous southern continent, covering the entire Antarctic region, while above the Arctic Circle are four large islands which Gerard believed existed.  In the open waters to the west of North America the Straits of Anian are noted, and the northwest region of the continent is named in Latin Anian Regnum, the Kingdom of Anian.

The St. Lawrence Seaway is named, and depicted with remarkable accuracy, suggesting Mercator’s familiarity with the geographic discoveries of Jacques Cartier. Florida is shown and named, and California is depicted more accurately than it would be at a later date. Cuba, Central America and the entire area of the Gulf of Mexico are quite accurately delineated, as are the Appalachian Mountains. A small river system which could represent the Mississippi is shown.

The bulge of South America which Gerard introduced in his 1569 map is still depicted, despite the rather more accurate Gastaldi map of 1568. The Amazon River and the Rio de la Plata are both present, and many places in South America are named and charted, including settlements, ports and cities.

The Eastern Hemisphere in general is quite accurately depicted, due to the extensive  charting done by early explorers. The forms of the continents and many islands resemble modern day satellite images, Japan being an exception as it is represented as a large rectangle with rounded corners. Many place names throughout the map have changed little and are identifiable today.

Inventory #11600

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What can be referred to as modern cartography has been around for over 550 years. Throughout that time an enormous amount of new land was discovered, cities were founded while others perished. International trade and travel became the norm, political borders were ever-changing, and numerous wars were waged. With all that being said, hundreds of thousands of maps were created that show such events and episodes in time. 
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