Other map pages: [ Locations | Map themes & related | Cartographers ]
Willem Blaeu. "Guiana siue Amazonum Regio." Amsterdam: W. Blaeu, ca. 1640. 14 3/4 x 19 1/4. Engraving. Original color. Full margins. Some light transferring and a few spots. Oxidation of old greens; expertly lined. Overall, very good condition. Latin text on verso. Denver.
The legend of "El Dorado" was one of the most influential legends of the early days of exploration in the New World. The legend first appeared in the 1530s or 40s as a story of an Indian chief who was rich enough to cover himself with gold dust during certain ceremonies; this chief was the golden man, "El Hombre Dorado." The legend had its source in the Colombian highlands, near present-day Bogota. When the Spanish conquistadors reached this region they found no such rich chief or kingdom. For myriad reasons, this legend didn't die; rather it transformed itself and moved slowly across the continent. After an amazing series of horrific and unsuccessful searches for El Dorado, the legend finally solidified as a story about a rich city of El Dorado, called Manoa by the natives, located on a huge lake in the highlands of Guyana, south of the Orinoco River.
In 1595, Sir Walter Raleigh set sail to find El Dorado. At Trinidad, he captured Antonio de Berrio, who had spent much of his life in search of the legend. Berrio soon told Raleigh all he knew of the place, and gave Raleigh a map of the area. Raleigh later drew a manuscript map of Guyana and published a report on the region and his explorations; this was the first popularization of the legend of El Dorado. The first published map showing El Dorado, based on a map by Jodocus Hondius drawn from Raleigh's and his captain's reports, was issued in 1599, almost three quarters of a century after the legend's first appearance.
This map was issued about forty years later, based on the earlier map and still showing the legend. This map shows a large horizontal "Parime Lacus" located between the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers and surrounded by mountains. On northwest corner of the lake is "Manoa, o el Dorado." As one of the first widely circulated maps showing the region, this map had a huge impact in propagating this legend-on-the-map. The general depiction of El Dorado from this map lasted throughout the seventeenth century, with the city and lake taking on various sizes and placements. The city of Manoa disappeared by the end of the century, but the legendary Lake Parima did not vanish from maps until well into the nineteenth century. This is an excellent and early map of the fascinating legend of El Dorado. $450
Maps by Jacques Nicolas Bellin. From Allgemeine Historie Der Reisen Zu Wasser Und Zu Land.... Leipzig: Arkstee & Merkus. 1758. Engravings. Engravings. Very good condition, except as noted.
A fine series of detailed engravings after Jacques Nicolas Bellin, Hydrographer to the King of France, issued in a German edition of Prevost's Voyages. From about 1650 to 1750, the French dominated the cartographic world, with their fine, scientifically based maps, elegantly engraved and precisely detailed. Bellin (1703-72) was one of the best in the later period and these maps are good examples of his output.
A map of the Amazon River as some of the head waters reach north into the then unexplored interior of Guiana and then as it flows into the Atlantic Ocean by Jacques Nicolas Bellin, the Hydrographer to the King of France. From about 1650 to 1750, the French dominated the cartographic world, with their fine, scientifically based maps, elegantly engraved and precisely detailed. Bellin (1703-72) was one of the best in the later period. Bellin's specialty was marine charts and this is a good example of his output. There is considerable detail of the main river and tributaries up past the intersection of the Amazon and the Black River. $225
Jean Janvier. "L'Amerique Meridionale." Paris: Jean Lattré & J. Thomas, 1762. From Atlas Moderne. 11 7/8 x 17 3/8. Engraving by Lattré. Original outline color. Very good condition. Jean Janvier was a French cartographer who worked in Paris in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Among his output were some fine maps which appeared in Jean Lattré's Atlas Moderne. This atlas contained maps of all parts of the world engraved by Lattré, the "Graveur Ordinaire du Roi." Janvier's maps contained the best information available at the time, done with typical French precision and care. The map has a finely etched title cartouche, showing South American flora, in the lower left corner. $325
Isaak Tirion. "Land-Kaart van het Eiland en de Volkplanting van Cayenne aan de Just von Zuid Amerika." Amsterdam, ca. 1766. 14 x 16. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.
A wonderful map of the island of Cayenne in modern day French Guiana. The French established the first European settlement on the island in 1604, which began the long history of European control of the area. However, the settlement was soon destroyed by the Portuguese who had claimed the region a hundred years earlier and were loath to abandon their territory to another power. Despite the setback, the French returned in 1643 and rebuilt, until they had to abandon the settlement again in the face of serious attacks from the native inhabitants. The colony eventually would be reestablished and trade hands between the British, Dutch and English before eventually returning to French control decades later.
This map, produced by Dutch cartographer Isaak Tirion, shows the colony during a period of Dutch control. The map neatly shows the various rivers, hills and settlements of the area. Of particular note is the indication of the "Woonplaats van Weggeloopen Neger-Slaaven", or the settlement of escaped Black Slaves. It was not unusual for African slaves to escape their captors and seek refuge among the local Indians or even establish their own settlements, as was the case here. A lovely and interesting map of an important settlement in South America. $135
Rigobert Bonne. "Carte du nouv. Rme. de Grenade, de la noule. Andalousie et de la Guyane." From Atlas de toutes les parties connues du Globe Terrestre. Paris, 1780. 8 3/8 x 12 5/8. Engraving. Very good condition.
Rigobert Bonne was the Royal Hydrographer of France, so his primary interest was in marine charts. However, with his Royal connections and access to the cartographic documents in Paris, Bonne was able to compile maps containing some of the most up-to-date information of his time. This map of the northern part of South America is a good example of his work. The northwestern corner of the continent, called here the Kingdom of Grenade, was well explored and the information is quite good. The coastline as far east as the mouth of the Amazon is also shown with accurate detail, while the coarse of that great river is relatively well depicted. Of particular interest is the depiction of a square "Lac Parime" in the northeast. This is a remnant of the famous myth of El Dorado. At the end of the sixteenth century, El Dorado was supposed to be a golden city on a large lake, called Parima, though both were nonexistent. As time went by, it became accepted that El Dorado did not exist, but the origin of the mythical lake was forgotten and it was left on maps even as late as this one. $150
John Reid. "A General Map of South America From the Best Surveys. 1796." From American Atlas. New York: J. Reid, 1796. Engraving by Benjamin Tanner. 14 1/4 x 17 1/2. Very good condition. Wheat & Brun: 712.
In 1795, William Winterbotham issued in London An Historical, Geographical, Commercial and Philosophical View of the American United Statesâ€¦, which was accompanied by An America Atlas consisting of nine maps of sections of America by John Russell. The following year, New York bookseller John Reid issued an American edition of Winterbotham's work, this time accompanied by a more substantial American Atlas containing 21 maps. Six of these-North America, South America, West Indies, United States, Kentucky, and Washington D.C.-were direct copies of the Russell maps, but the others were new maps, though both these maps and the concept was certainly greatly influenced by Mathew Carey's atlas of the year before. Though Philadelphia was the center of most American mapmaking in the eighteenth century, the atlas was engraved and produced in New York, and when issued it was only the second American atlas published in this country. Carey appears to have had better commercial instincts, for while his atlas went into further editions, this is the only edition of the Reid atlas, and its considerable scarcity seems to indicate it was not a success. The maps, however, are rare and important examples of nascent American cartography. $450
William Darton, Jr. "South America." From Atlas to Walker's Geography. London: Vernor and Hood, etc., 1802. 7 1/4 x 8 1/2. Engraving. Original outline color. Very good condition.
William Darton, Sr. started his mapmaking business in 1787 in London, and thus began a cartographic publishing house that would last, in various manifestations, until the 1860s. William Darton, Jr. joined his father late in the eighteenth century and these are maps engraved by him for Walker's Geography. While not large, the maps contain an impressive amount of detail carefully presented. The information used was the best available in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century, meaning the best in the world, so these maps are not only attractive, but provide an excellent cartographic picture of the world at the time. This map of South America includes good information of the interior river and mountains. $150
Go to page with other maps by William Darton
John Cary. "A New Map of South America from the Latest Authorities." London: J. Cary, 1807. Two sheets, each 17 3/4 x 20 1/2. Engraving. Full original hand color. Full margins. Bottom sheet with tear at top and water stain at bottom. Overall, very good condition.
A very detailed two sheet map of South America by John Cary (ca. 1754-1835), the founder of the famous English cartographic firm. Mountains, rivers and lakes are graphically presented, and this together with the contrasting pastel shades of the countries gives the map a striking appearance. South America is shown just on the eve of the Wars of Independence, in its last days as a continent of colonies. Towns and roads are shown, and historical notes are scattered about the continent. Scales are given for French, Spanish and Portuguese leagues and British miles. $350
"South America." From A New and Elegant General Atlas. London: Laurie & Whittle, 1808. 9 3/4 x 7 1/4. Engraving. Excellent original color. Very good condition.
In 1794, Robert Laurie and James Whittle took over Robert Sayer's important publishing business in London and continued to produce maps of the highest quality into the early nineteenth century. With access to the best geographic records and the finest craftsmen, the maps issued by Laurie & Whittle are among the best of the period. This map of South America contains surprisingly good detail in a small format. Rivers and mountains are well illustrated. The continent is divided into three main political spheres: the western Spanish domains (yellow), Brazil (red), and Guayana (green). Of particular note is the depiction of Lake Parima. This lake is the remnant of the mythical city of El Dorado, which was supposed to be located on this equally non-existent lake. $250
Aaron Arrowsmith. "Government of Caracas, with Guiana." From A New and Elegant General Atlas. By Aaron Arrowsmith and Samuel Lewis. Boston: Thomas & Andrews, 1812. 8 x 9 7/8. Copper engraving. Full margins. Very good condition.
An excellent map of northeastern South America from the American edition of an early Anglo-American atlas. The maps from this atlas are the work of Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1833), an Englishman who was the foremost cartographer of his period, and Samuel Lewis, one of the leaders in the nascent American cartographic field. This map is based upon Arrowsmith's work, and as such reflects the best cartography of the period. A nice example of Anglo-American cooperation on the eve of the War of 1812. $45
Maps of regions of South America by Mathew Carey. From General Atlas. Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1814. Engravings. Original outline color.
A nice series of American made maps of South America by Mathew Carey. They were published in 1814, during the War of 1812, in Carey's General Atlas which represented the best American cartographic work of the period. Carey, an Irish immigrant, established the first American specialized cartographic publishing firm. He set up an elaborate cottage system of craftsmen for engraving, printing, and coloring his maps utilizing the best independent artists directed to a common end. Carey is important, then, not only for the excellent maps he produced, but for his setting the pattern for American map publishing, to be followed by the likes of John Melish and Henry S. Tanner.
A series of detailed maps of regions of South America by John Cary (ca. 1754-1835), the founder of the famous English cartographic firm. From about mid-way through the eighteenth century, British cartographers were the best in the world, and the maps produced by Cary are good examples of the quality they achieved. Cary was very concerned with the changing political situation in the world, so these maps shows this in South America to that date. Rivers, towns, political divisions, and topography are presented with crisp engravings, the hatchuring giving the maps a three-dimensional appearance. The subtle hand coloring adds a decorative touch to these fine early nineteenth century historic documents.
E. Paguenaud. "Map of South America." From C. V. Lavoisne's A Complete Genealogical, Historical & Chronological Atlas. Philadelphia: M. Carey & Son, 1821. 16 1/2 x 20 3/8. Engraving by Young & Delleker. Full original hand coloring. Good condition.
A excellent snap-shot of South America near the end of the period of the Wars of Independence. This map, which is surrounded by text on the sides, was issued in an historic atlas issued by one of the great American cartographic publishers. The map itself is accurate with each country bolding indicated with a contrasting pastel shade. The text concerns the history of each nation and it mentions the wars recently fought. For instance, "After remaining under the dominion of the Royalists for three years, New Granada was again emancipated by the army of Bolivar, who entered Santa Fé in August, 1819, and there appears considerable reason to believe that the independence of this country is now finally established." Though in somewhat less than excellent shape, this is a very good map of an important period in South American history. $175
Henry S. Tanner. "South America with Improvements to 1823." From The American Atlas. Philadelphia: H.S. Tanner, -1823. 36 x 21 1/8. Engraving. Full original hand color. Three horizontal folds, as issued; one 3" repaired tear in lower left, not affecting image; light staining in margins. Overall good condition.
An excellent American map by Henry Schenck Tanner. Tanner, a Philadelphia engraver and map publisher, was one of the leading figures in American cartography during the second decade of the nineteenth century. Tanner's work was the best in North America at the time, and was of comparable quality to mapmaking anywhere in the world. This map shows the continent of South America as well as a portion of the islands of the Caribbean to the North. Each country is colored in a contrasting pastel shade, and this highlights the complex and confusing political situation of the time. Excellent, precise detail is given of rivers, towns, lakes, swamps, and mountains. This is a fascinating and attractive picture of the continent by one of the great American cartographers of the period. $550
Maps from A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas. Philadelphia: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, 1827. Engravings. Full, original hand coloring. Very good condition.
In 1822, Henry Charles Carey and Isaac Lea published their American Atlas. This volume was based on Emmanuel Las Cases' Atlas Historique of 1803, with updated maps and text modified by Carey, a political economist. He considered himself an American foil to John Stuart Mill and the London economists who were proclaimers of "the gloomy science" influenced by Ricardo and Malthus. Instead of preaching overpopulation and degeneration of the human species, Carey illustrated the nations of the western hemisphere through maps that showed an expanding region with ample promise of developing into lands of great new opportunity and growth. The sheets from this atlas, which cover North America, Central America, South America and the West Indies, are comprised of an engraved map surrounded by text documenting the history, climate, population and so forth of the area depicted. The atlas is particularly known for its excellent early maps of the states and territories of the United States. Many of these maps were drawn by Fielding Lucas, Jr., an important Baltimore cartographer. All of the maps show excellent and very up-to-date detail, providing fine verbal and graphic pictures of states and territories in the early 19th century.
A handsome and detailed map by British cartographer Sidney Hall, issued in London in 1828. Though other countries, including the United States, had by then developed cartographic industries of considerable quality, British map publishers were still the best in the world in the 1820s. This map shows why, with clear and precise engraving depicting copious up-to-date information. With the political situation after the Wars of Independence so complex, this map presents this information very clearly and graphically. $350
Maps by David Burr. From Universal Atlas. New York: Thomas Illman, 1834-35. Ca. 12 3/4 x 10 1/2. Engravings. Full original color. Very good condition.
A series of excellent maps by David H. Burr, one of the most important American cartographers of the first part of the nineteenth century. Having studied under Simeon DeWitt, Burr produced the second state atlas issued in the United States, of New York in 1829. He was then appointed to be geographer for the U.S. Post Office and later geographer to the House of Representatives. As a careful geographer, Burr is painstaking in this map to put in only information for which he felt there was a scientific basis. Burr's maps are scarce and quite desirable.
A nice map from Boston publisher and cartographer, Thomas G. Bradford. Issued in 1835, Bradford's Atlas contained maps of the United States and other parts of the world, based on the most up-to-date information available at the time. Cities, rivers, lakes, and political depictions are depicted. Because Bradford continued to update his maps as he issued them in different volumes, this political information is very interesting for historic purposes. This map is particularly of note as showing the continent shortly after the Wars of Independence from the beginning of the century. $65
Regional maps from the same atlas:
A lovely and well produced map from John Lothian's New Edinburgh General Atlas. Published jointly in London and Edinburgh, this atlas contained maps with very good detail of towns and cities, river and lakes, orography, and political divisions. In this period, the United Kingdom had established itself as the dominate economic and cartographic nation and the maps from this atlas bespeak the quality of British mapmakers. Each map is finely hand colored, making them as attractive as they are historically interesting. This map shows South America when Columbia encompassed the entire northwest part of the continent, and when La Plata and Patagonia were separate entitles. $175
A series of detailed and striking maps after Henry Schenck Tanner. Beginning at the end of the second decade of the nineteenth century, Tanner, produced his important American Atlas, the finest American produced atlas to the time. The American Atlas was a huge success and this inspired Tanner, in 1834, to produce his Universal Atlas, of more manageable size. In 1844 Carey & Hart issued an updated edition of the Tanner atlas. These maps were later purchased by S. Augustus Mitchell, and then Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., but maps from the early Carey & Hart edition are quite rare. These are typical examples of the fine maps from that atlas. Each includes much information, especially focusing on the rivers and general topography. Each political division is identified by a contrasting pastel color and the towns and cities are indicated and named. An excellent series of maps.
A strong map of South America from the mid-nineteenth century. Published by one of the leading U.S. cartographic firms of the period, this is an excellent example of American mapping. Details of towns and topography is excellent and the political divisions in the continent are shown with contrasting pastel shades. With precise detail and hand coloring, an excellent example of mid-century American cartography. $150
Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., Philadelphia: 1850. Strong and beautifully crafted maps of South America from the mid-nineteenth century, published by Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. This firm took over the publication of S. Augustus Mitchell's important Universal Atlas in 1850, and they continued to produce up-dated maps that were amongst the best issued in the period. These maps show various parts of South America at an important time in its development. The maps are filled with myriad topographical details, including rivers, towns, lakes and political borders. This firm's maps are especially known for their depiction of transportation routes, and these maps are no exception. For their fascinating detail and decorative appeal, these are some excellent South America documents.
Beginning in 1851, John Tallis & Co. issued their Illustrated Atlas, which contained maps of all parts of the world. These detailed maps are particularly known for their decorative borders and the small, finely engraved vignettes of local scenes. These are some of the most interesting mid-nineteenth century maps of the continent.
J.H. Colton. New York: J.H. Colton & Co., 1855. 15 1/2 x 12 5/8. Lithograph. Full margins. Very good condition.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of map publishing in America moved from Philadelphia to New York. The J.H. Colton publishing firm played a large role in this shift. These maps of South America, with their fine detail, are good examples of their successful work.
The map presents the countries in contrasting pastel shades, and includes depictions of towns, roads, railroads, rivers, and some topography, the last of which is shown with attractive crosshatching. $65
Four separate inset maps of the island groups and southern tip of the continent. $50
Charles Desilver, one of the many publishers working in Philadelphia during the mid-nineteenth century, issued an atlas of maps based on the famous Tanner-Mitchell-Cowperthwait series. Desilver used much the same information as originally drawn in the 1840s, but updated the maps with new roads, towns, and other information. This map is typical of the rather unusual and scarce Desilver atlas. An attractive and fascinating document of South America. $70
An attractive and historically interesting map of the eastern portion of the continent by one of the leading American mapmakers of the mid-nineteenth century. This colorful and accurate map shows Brazil as well as the northern part of the Argentine Republic and the majority of Bolivia. Provinces, borders, rivers, cities, mountains and other geographic and social information is neatly displayed. A lovely map of the region. $75
"Johnson's South America." New York: Johnson & Browning, ca. 1860. 24 1/2 x 16 7/8. Lithograph. Full original hand-color. Very good condition.
A big and bold colored map of the from Johnson & Browning's mid-late nineteenth century atlas of the world. The Johnson & Browning firm was one of other big New York map publishing houses in the latter half of the century, producing popular maps, atlases, and geographies. This map shows Central and South America, as well as the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. In its larger format and bold coloring, this is one of the most interesting of the later 19th century maps. $125
W. Williams. "Map of South America, Showing its Political Divisions." With inset "Map Showing the Proposed Atrato-Inter-Oceanic Canal Routes, for Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans." From Mitchell's New General Atlas. Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1880. 13 1/2 x 10 5/8. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.
S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., of Philadelphia, was one of the largest map publishers of the middle of the nineteenth century. The firm was founded by his father, who from around the middle of the nineteenth century issued atlases and maps of all parts of the world in all formats. The Mitchell atlases contained up-to-date maps which were as attractive as they were accurate. This map is of particular interest in showing the location of the planned canal between the Caribbean and Pacific. The French made the first attempt to build what would become the Panama Canal between 1881 and 1894. With its delicate hand-color, decorative borders, and interesting information from the period, this is a fine example of the Mitchell firm's output. $60
For more information call, write, fax or e-mail to:
201 Fillmore Street
Suite 101 (entrance on 2nd Avenue)
Denver, Colorado 80206
(303) 322-4757 [Phone]
(303) 322-0516 [Fax]
8441 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(215) 242-4750 [Phone]
(215) 242-6977 [Fax]