Sunday, September 9, 2018

Ancient world maps

Samuel Thornton sea atlas (circa 1702 - 1707)
Title reads: " The new and correct Mapp of the WORLD according to Mercador's projection"
A large sea-chart of the world on Mercator's Projection.
It depicts California as an island, and shows the Mississippi and the Great Lakes in North America which was at the time the newest updates in world cartography.
Thornton also provided great details in the sea trade winds, the time of the year they flow, as well as seasonal monsoons.
The map also reveals the routes of such great maritime explorers as
- Abel Tasman: a Dutch explorer who discovered Tasmania to which he gave his name, New Zealand, and the Fiji Islands.
- William Dampier: The first English explorer to explore part of Australia and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times.
- Edmund Halley: English astronomer and geophysicist who is famous for successfully calculating the orbit of the comet now known as Halley's Comet. 


Pierre Mortier's 1703
with also the idea of the Island of California and embryonic Australia
(see geographicus)


An attractive first edition first state example of Jacques Nicolas Bellin’s 1778 nautical chart of the world.
Presents the entire world on a Mercator Projection based on a Paris (L’Isle de Fer) meridian.
This is notably the first state of this important map, exhibiting a pre-Cook geography throughout, but most specifically in the Pacific and along the northwest coast of America.
North America to the west of the Mississippi is vaguely rendered according to 16th century expeditions into the region by Coronado, La Salle, De Soto, and others.
Bellin identifies the semi-mythical civilizations of Quivira and Teguayo, both associated with legends of the Seven Cities of Gold, in what is modern day Utah, California, and Nevada.
Along the western coast the strait discovered by Martin Aguilar is noted.
Further north still the River of the West (Fl. de l’Ouest) extends from the west coast to the Lake of the Woods (Lac de Bois) and thence via additional waterways to the Great Lakes and the Atlantic.
The River of the West appeared in many 18th century maps of the Americas and is reflective of French hopes for a water route from their colonies in Canada and Louisiana to the Pacific.
Still further north the coastline becomes extremely vague, in places vanishing altogether.
The Aleutians are vaguely rendered according to various sightings by Vitus Jonassen Bering and Aleksei Chirikov in the 1740s and identified as the “Archipel de Nord”.
 In the Pacific, various Polynesian Island groups are noted though many are slightly or significantly misplaced.
The Solomon Islands are vastly oversized referencing the early 17th claims of Quiros.
The other lands discovered and erroneously mapped by Quiros in 1606 and Davis in 1686 during their search of the great southern continent are also noted.
Hawaii, as yet undiscovered, is absent. New Zealand is rendered twice though is accurate in its form and position. Australia, here labeled “Nouvelle Holland”, has part of its southern coastline ghosted in and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) is attached to the mainland.
The southern coast of New Guinea is similarly ghosted in, suggesting its unexplored state.
It is of interest that there is a common misconception regarding this map that suggests the first edition was dated 1748.
There are editions with a printed date of 1748, but these are actually later editions.
The 1748 date is a printing error in which “8” and “4” are transposed, the actual date of publication being 1784.
The first edition of this map is the 1778 example shown here. 

1801 Map of the World on Mercator Projection by John Cary.
Designed to illustrate the explorations of the previous century
 A New Chart of the World, on Mercator's Projection:
Exhibiting the Track & Discoveries of themost Eminent Navigators, to the Present Period.
Details the entire world as it was known at the turn of the 19th century.

Displays the continents in considerable detail but offers only minimal information in the Arctic and Antarctic latitudes.
Designed to illustrate the explorations of the previous century, focusing specifically on the important explorations of Cook, Vancouver, Perouse, and Gores.
Offers copious notations on explorations and unconfirmed discoveries throughout.
Prepared in 1801 by John Cary for issue in his magnificent 1808 New Universal Atlas.

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