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1588 Petri and Munster Map of America

Americae Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio. /  Die newen inseln so hinder Hispaniam gegen Orient, bey dem landt Indie gelegen.

1588 Petri and Munster Map of America


Petri's map of America with new toponymy on North America's west coast.



Americae Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio. / Die newen inseln so hinder Hispaniam gegen Orient, bey dem landt Indie gelegen.
  1588 (undated)    13 x 14.5 in (33.02 x 36.83 cm)     1 : 59500000


An attractive c. 1588 edition of Sebastian Henric Petri's Americae Sive Novi Orbis published in the 1628 edition of Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia. This map covers all of north and South America from a mysterious inland lake (Conibas?) to Tierra del Fuego, and from New Guiana to beyond the easternmost coast of Brazil. This map is Petri's major revision of Sebastian Munster's original 1540 map of America and is based almost entirely on Ortelius' 1570 map of the same region. The map features many of the cartographic anomalies and false suppositions common to the period. Teirra de Fuego remains connected to the mysterious southern continent - suggesting that information from Drake's voyages had not yet filtered into central Europe. The large bulge on the western coast of South America, near Chile, also remains. A collection of islands in the pacific, situated suspiciously close to the western coast of the Pacific is identified as the 'Archipeago di San Lazao,' a term that Magellan gave the Ladrones, which are in fact located much further west. New Guinea is oversized and apparently connected to the unknown southern continent. IN North America a great bay in inland lake or bay extends into the heart of the continent from the map's border. This is most likely a remnant of Verazanno's Sea and the precursor of the legendary Lake Conibas. On the west coast of North America Quivara, Anian, and Tolm, possibly terms derived from Marco Polo, appear prominently. This map was engraved in woodcut c. 1588 and published in Basel by Sebastian Petri. After 1588, this map was only issued in posthumous German editions of Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia issued in 1592, 1598, 1614, and 1628, and is thus rare. The present example most likely hails from the 1628 edition.


Sebastian Münster (January 20, 1488 - May 26 1552), was a German cartographer, cosmographer, and a Hebrew scholar. Münster was born at Ingelheim near Mainz, the son of Andreas Munster. He completed his studies at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen in 1518, after which he was appointed to the University of Basel in 1527. As Professor of Hebrew, he edited the Hebrew Bible, accompanied by a Latin translation. His principal work, the Cosmographia, first issued in 1544, was the earliest German description of the world. The book proved popular and was reissued in numerous editions and languages including Latin, French, Italian, English, and Czech. The last German edition was published in 1628, long after his death. The Cosmographia was one of the most successful and popular books of the 16th century. It passed through 24 editions in 100 years. This success was due to the fascinating woodcuts (some by Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel). Munster's work was highly influential in reviving classical geography in 16th century Europe. In 1540 he published a Latin edition of Ptolemy's Geographia, also with illustrations. The 1550 edition contains cities, portraits, and costumes. These editions, printed in Germany, are the most valued of the Cosmographia. Münster also wrote the Dictionarium trilingue in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and composed a large format map of Europe in 1536. In 1537 he published a Hebrew Gospel of Matthew which he had obtained from Spanish Jews he had converted. Most of Munster's work was published by his son-in-Law, Heinrich Petri (Henricus Petrus), and his son Sebastian Henric Petri. He died at Basel of the plague in 1552.

Heinrich Petri (1508 - 1579) and his son Sebastian Henric Petri (1545 – 1627) were printers based in Basel, Switzerland. Heinrich was the son of the printer Adam Petri and Anna Selber. After Adam died in 1527, Anna married the humanist and geographer Sebastian Munster - one of Adam's collaborators. Sebastian contracted his son-in-law, Henricus Petri (Petrus), to print editions of his wildly popular Cosmographia. Later Petri, brought his son, Sebastian Henric Petri, into the family business. Their firm was known as the Officina Henricpetrina. In addition to the Cosmographia, they also published a number of seminal other works including the 1566 second edition of Nicolaus Copernicus's De revolutionibus orbium coelestium and Georg Joachim Rheticus's Narratio .


Munster, S., Cosmographica, (Sebastain Petri, Basel) 1588.     The Cosmographia was first issued by Sebastian Munster (1488 1552) in 1544. It is considered the earliest German description of the world. In order to produce the Cosmographia Munster put out a call to scholars throughout Germany for cartographic information. The response must have been impressive, especially with regard to far off destinations, for it enabled Munster to compile a work of unprecedented scope and accuracy. The volume proved to be one of the most popular and enduring volumes of the 16th century, appearing in some 24 editions over the next 100 years. The Cosmographia typically consisted of six volumes, each dedicated to a different part of the world. The final edition was issued in 1628, long after Munster himself had passed on.


Very good. Minor centerfold wear. Pinhole in upper margin, well away from printed area. Minor reinforcement lower centerfold margin - well outside printed area. German text on verso.


OCLC 234201672, 43414807. Burden, P., The Mapping of North America, #67. Wheat, C. I., Mapping of the Transmississippi West, 1540 – 1861, v.1, no. 20.
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