Willem (Guiljemus) Blaeu. “Tabula Magellanica, qua Tierrae del fuego, cum celeberrimis fretis a F. Magellano et I. Le Maire detectis novissima et accuratissima description exhibetur.”
Amsterdam, (1635) 1642-43. Engraving. Outline color to decorative cartouches. 16 1/4 x 20 3/4 (platemarks) plus complete but narrow margins. Dutch text on verso. Peter van der Krogt, 9950:2B. Strong strike. Excellent condition.
This map marks a major improvement in the cartographic depiction of South America. In 1519 Ferdinand Magellan discovered the straits between the continent and Tierra del Fuego, but he did not realize that the land to the south was an island. Therefore many sixteenth century maps showed a huge continent south of the straits. Jacques Le Maire (d. 1616), sailed with Jan Cornelis Schouten in 1615-1616 to the south Atlantic on a voyage that discovered the Juan Fernandex Islands. Le Maire’s work on the voyage enabled him to record and name the LeMaire Strait between “Magellanica” and “Staten Landt” after his father. Thereafter Tierra del Fuego would be depicted as an island.
This map shines not only in its interesting cartographic history, but also in its decorative appeal. It is a particularly fine example of the aesthetics of 17th-century Dutch cartography. The elegant calligraphy and compass roses combine with the ships in the sea and the rhumb lines are wonderful embellishments. The title and scale cartouches, the latter which shows half-naked natives, add a final flourish that makes the map a delight to look at. All in all an historic map that is a very fine decorative example of the great age of Dutch cartography.