1625 (undated) 6.5 x 8 in (16.51 x 20.32 cm)
This is a beautiful 1625 map of Africa by the Dutch cartographer Jodocus Hondius. It depicts the continent of Africa from the early 17th century perspective. Largely based on earlier Mercator model, this map shows revised coastlines. The map also depicts various coastal features near Madagascar. The speculative details represented on this map also highlight how little was known about the region at the time.
Hondius curiously maps the Niger River which includes a great lake formed by the Niger – an embryonic attempt to map the important and unusual Niger Inland Delta. The river, moreover, runs directly eastward rather than correctly to the northeast. The Mountains of the Moon (although not so named on this map), supposed source of the Nile, are located considerably south of where they appear in other maps of the period. Early Ptolemaic maps note these mountains as well as two large lakes just to the north here called 'Zaire Lacus or Zembre Lacus.'
Beautiful illustrations adorn the map, including two ships in battle and a whale or a sea monster in the bottom right quadrant. This map is part of Samuel Purchas' Hakluytus Posthumus, or, Purchas his Pilgrimes, a compilation of voyages to foreign countries. Purchas, an English cleric acquired rights to use Hondius' plates to illustrate his works.
Jodocus Hondius (October, 14 1563 - February 12, 1612) was an important Dutch cartographer active in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His common name, Jodocus Hondius is actually a Latinized version of his Dutch name, Joost de Hondt. He is also sometimes referred to as Jodocus Hondius the Elder to distinguish him from his sons. Hondius was a Flemish artist, engraver, and cartographer. He is best known for his early maps of the New World and Europe, for re-establishing the reputation of the work of Gerard Mercator, and for his portraits of Francis Drake. Hondius was born and raised in Ghent. In his early years he established himself as an engraver, instrument maker and globe maker. In 1584 he moved to London to escape religious difficulties in Flanders. During his stay in England, Hondius was instrumental in publicizing the work of Francis Drake, who had made a circumnavigation of the world in the late 1570s. In particular, in 1589 Hondius produced a now famous map of the cove of New Albion, where Drake briefly established a settlement on the west coast of North America. Hondius' map was based on journal and eyewitness accounts of the trip and has long fueled speculation about the precise location of Drake's landing, which has not yet been firmly established by historians. Hondius is also thought to be the artist of several well-known portraits of Drake that are now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. In 1593, Hondius returned to Amsterdam, where he remained until the end of his life. In 1604, he purchased the plates of Gerard Mercator's Atlas from Mercator's grandson. Mercator's work had languished in comparison to the rival atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Ortelius. Hondius republished Mercator's work with 36 additional maps, including several which he himself produced. Despite the addition of his own contributions, Hondius recognizing the prestige of Mercator's name, gave Mercator full credit as the author of the work, listing himself as the publisher. Hondius' new edition of Mercator revived the great cartographer's reputation and was a great success, selling out after a year. Hondius later published a second edition, as well as a pocket version called the Atlas Minor. The maps have since become known as the "Mercator/Hondius series". Between 1605 and 1610 Hondius was employed by John Speed to engrave the plates for Speed's The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. Following Hondius' death in 1612, his publishing work in Amsterdam was continued by his widow and two sons, Jodocus II and Henricus. Later his family formed a partnership with Jan Jansson, whose name appears on the Atlas as co-publisher after 1633. Eventually, starting with the first 1606 edition in Latin, about 50 editions of the Atlas were released in the main European languages. In the Islamic world, the atlas was partially translated by the Turkish scholar Katip Çelebi. The series is sometimes called the 'Mercator/Hondius/Jansson' series because of Jansson's later contributions. Hondius' is also credited with a number of important cartographic innovations including the introduction of decorative map borders and contributions to the evolution of 17th century Dutch wall maps. The work of Hondius was essential to the establishment Amsterdam as the center of cartography in Europe in the 17th century.
Purchas, Samuel, the Elder, Hakluytus posthumus, or, Purchas his Pilgrimes
Very good. Original platemark visible.
University of Manchester Library, R1677. Betz, R., The Mapping of Africa A Cartobibliography of Printed Maps of the African Continent to 1700, #53.