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1603 Ortelius Map of the Azores

Acores Insulae. - Main View

1603 Ortelius Map of the Azores




Acores Insulae.
  1603 (undated)     13 x 18.5 in (33.02 x 46.99 cm)     1 : 1700000


A highly decorative 1603 map of the Azores by Abraham Ortelius. The map covers the Azores in considerable detail with numerous ships decorating the seas and a large sea serpent just west of St. Michael. The detail and overall beauty of Ortelius' map is reflective of the importance of the Azores to 16th and 17th century navigators. Columbus stopped, and was briefly imprisoned, here on his first voyage of discovery to the Americas. Other navigators followed his example until the islands became a major resupply point on the Spanish Galleon routes to and from the New World.

Ortelius derived this map from Luis Teixeira's single sheet map of Terceira from 1582, which bears Ortelius' name and of which Meurer mentions one copy at the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris (Meurer p. 253-254). This map first appeared in the 1584 Latin edition of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. There are three known states, the present example being the third state, issued in 300 copies for the 1603 Latin Edition of the Theatrum.


Abraham Ortelius (1527 - 1598) was one of the most important figures in the history of cartography and is most famously credited with the compilation of the seminal 1570 atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, generally considered to be the world's first modern atlas. Ortelius was born in Antwerp and began his cartographic career in 1547 as a typesetter for the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke. In this role Ortelius traveled extensively through Europe where he came into contact with Mercator, under whose influence, he marketed himself as a "scientific geographer". In this course of his long career he published numerous important maps as well as issued several updated editions of his cardinal work, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Late in his career Ortelius was appointed Royal Cartographer to King Phillip II of Spain. On his death in July fourth, 1598, Ortelius' body was buried in St Michael's Præmonstratensian Abbey , Antwerp, where his tombstone reads, Quietis cultor sine lite, uxore, prole.


Ortelius, A., Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, (Amsterdam) Latin Edition, 1603.    


Very good. Minor wormholing restricted to margins. Blank on verso. Wide clean margins. Original platemark.


Ort 24 (Koeman/Meurer: 95, Karrow: 1/136, van der Krogt AN: 6350:31), 1604L15.