1647 Dudley Nautical Map of the Mouth of the Amazon River

Carta Particolare dell'Rio d'Amazone con la costa sin al fiume Maranhan. - Main View

1647 Dudley Nautical Map of the Mouth of the Amazon River


One of the earliest maps to show Dutch merchant activity in the Amazon.


Carta Particolare dell'Rio d'Amazone con la costa sin al fiume Maranhan.
  1647 (undated)     14.75 x 19 in (37.465 x 48.26 cm)     1 : 1550000


This is a fine example of Robert Dudley's rare 1647 nautical chart or map of the mouth of the Amazon River, Brazil. This map was issued for the Dell'Arcano del Mare, one of the greatest nautical atlases of all time.
A Closer Look
It covers the region surrounding the mouth of the Amazon from French Guiana (Guiana) to the mouth of the Mearim River and the Baía de São Marcos in Brazil. Although covering only the mouth of the Amazon River, this is one of the earliest maps to show any part of this area at a large scale. The whole is rendered in the unique idiosyncratic style that is immediately identifiable as Antonio Francesco Lucini's work.

Dudley's cartographic information appears to derive primarily from coastal pilot accounts, as well as the Teixeira expedition of 1639, and Orellana's voyages of 1541- 1542 and 1544 – 1546. The river is identified as both the 'R. Amazzones' (River Amazon), after a supposed all female tribe Orellana heard about on his first voyage, and the Orellana, after the conquistador himself.
Europeans in Brazil
Despite covering a broad area, the map identifies only limited European presence Fort Oranje, Fort Nassau, Waterhuis, and Pinaro. Forts Oranje and Nassau were Dutch trading posts constructed on the Xingu River. Dudley may have transposed the locations of the forts, as Nassau was actually further south. Both were abandoned around 1617. Waterhuis was a Dutch supply station. Records of Dutch entradas into the Amazon are sketchy and incomplete, but what is known is remarkable. Evidence suggests that Dutch traders probed deep into the Amazon and forged working relationships with the indigenous peoples. East of the mouth of the Amazon is the city of 'Pinaro,' which may refer to Belem.
Publication History and Census
An extraordinary achievement, this map was one of 130 published in the 1647 edition of Robert Dudley's Dell'Arcano del Mare, the first maritime atlas of the world. It was engraved in Florence by Antonio Francesco Lucini. We note a single example cataloged in OCLC which is part of the collection at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. An example is also part of the collection of the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library and the British Library.


Sir Robert Dudley (August 7, 1573 - September 6, 1649) was an English explorer and cartographer, the publisher of the Dell’Arcano de Mare, one of the greatest nautical atlases of all time. He was the illegitimate son of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester (a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I) and Douglas Sheffield, the widow of John Sheffield, 2nd Baron Sheffield. In 1594, Dudley led an expedition across the Atlantic, with the intent of harassing Spanish merchantmen. His expedition met with a series of misfortunes, but successfully returned to England the following year. In 1596, Dudley joined an expedition led by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, against Cadiz. He served as the commander of the Nonpareil, and was knighted for his conduct in the capture of Cadiz. In 1603, Dudley made an attempt to establish his legitimacy at court and gain several inheritances, after being (possibly erroneously) informed that his parents had been secretly married. No concrete proof of the marriage could be furnished, thus the judgement was handed down against him in May 1605. Dudley left England in July of the same year, with his lover and cousin Elizabeth Southwell, who was disguised as his page. They married in Lyon in 1606 having received a papal dispensation. The couple settled in Florence, where Dudley began using his father’s title, Earl of Leicester, and his uncle’s, Earl of Warwick. In Florence, Dudley designed and built warships for the arsenal at Livorno and became a naval advisor to Ferdinand I, Grand Duke of Tuscany. In 1607, James I revoked Dudley’s travel license once ordered that he return to provide for his deserted wife and family. Dudley refused, was subsequently labeled an outlaw, and his estate was confiscated. By far Dudley’s most important work was the Dell’Arcano del Mare (Secrets of the Sea). His most celebrated achievement, is the atlas of sea charts of the world which accompanied the work. This maritime atlas was the first nautical atlas of the entire world in print, the first made by an Englishman, the first to show prevailing winds and currents, and the first to use the Mercator projection throughout. Learn More...

Antonio Francesco Lucini (January 1, 1610 - 1661), a.k.a. Anton, was an Italian engraver and printmaker. Lucini was born in Florence born in 1605. Lucini initially studied engraving with Stefano della Bella (1610 - 1664) under Jacques Callot (c 1592 - 1635), who lived in Florence from 1612 to 1621. He is recorded in 1616 as Callot's assistant in Florence. After 1621, he joined flowed Callot in Nancy to continue his training. He returned to Florence sometime before 1631, when he published a series of plates on the Great Siege of Malta. He is best known in cartographic circles as the engraver for Sir Robert Dudley's seminal maritime atlas Dell'Arcano del Mare (Of the Mysteries of the Sea), published in Florence in 1645 - 1646. The 200 engraved plates and 146 charts which Lucini produced for Dudley occupied 12 years occupied 12 years of his life and consumed some 5000lbs of copper. The engravings exhibit Lucini’s masterful craftsmanship and are outstanding examples of Italian Baroque engraving. Indeed, while Dudley was a master chartmaker, it is Lucini's virtuoso engraving and fine calligraphy that most define Dudley's work. Learn More...


Dudley, R., Dell'Arcano del Mare, (Florence) 1645.     Dell’Arcano del Mare (Secrets of the Sea) is a six volume 17th century maritime encyclopedia by English nobleman Sir Robert Dudley (1573 - 1649). It is considered to be one of the most important maritime atlases of all time, the first of its kind in print: the first sea atlas to treat the entire world (not just Europe), the first by an Englishman, the first to illustrate prevailing winds and currents, and the first to universally employ a Mercator projection. The charts themselves are notable for being all new works, created by Dudley based upon a lifetime of collecting maritime data. All of the roughly 130 known charts in the Dell’Arcano del Mare were engraved in the Italian baroque ethic by Antonio Francesco Lucini, a Florentine master engraver. It is said that the work took Lucini 12 years and consumed more than 5000lbs of copper. It was published in Florence between 1645 and 1646 in six folio volumes. Another edition was issued in 1661 but contained fewer charts.


Very good.


OCLC 164795308. Boston Public Library, Leventhal Map Center, G1059 .D84 1647. Shirley, R., Maps in the atlases of the British Library, M.Dud-1a, 128.