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Sebastian Münster:  Novae Insulae XVII Nova Tabula [First State!]

Maps of America

Title: Novae Insulae XVII Nova Tabula [First State!]

Map Maker: Sebastian Münster

Place / Date: Basle / 1542

Coloring: Uncolored

Size: 13.5 x 10 inches

Condition: VG+

Price: SOLD

Inventory ID: 41106


The first state, second issue of Munster's map of America, the earliest map to show all of North and South America in a true continental form.

The first edition of the map appeared in Munster's Geographia, first published in 1540. However, it was the map's inclusion in the 1544 edition of Munster's Cosmographia that forever caused America to be the name of the New World, perpetuating Waldseemuller's choice of names in a popular and widely disseminated work. 

Munster's map is the first to name the Pacific Ocean (Mare Pacificum).   The depiction of North America is dominated by one of the most dramatic geographic misconceptions to be found on early maps—the so-called Sea of Verrazzano. The Pacific cuts deeply into into North America so that the part of the coastline at this point is a narrow isthmus between two oceans. This was the result of Verrazzano mistaking the waters to the west of the Outer Banks, the long barrier islands along North Carolina as the Pacific. The division of the New World between Spain and Portugal is recognized on the map by the Castille and Leon flag planted in Puerto Rico, here called Sciana.

The map includes a host of firsts, too many to include in this description. Includes a very early appearance of the Straits of Magellan, along with his ship Victoria in the Pacific.  The map includes the earliest appearance of Japan on a map, predating European contact and based solely upon legends, such as Marco Polo. The Yucatan Peninsula is shown as an Island.  Lake Temistan empties into the Caribbean.  The map depicts cannibals in South America and names Florida.

The mis-information provided by Verrazzanno is perpetuated.

A nearly flawless example, from the 1542 edition of Munster's Geographia, differing from the first state, only by the addition of the printer's device before the word "Novae" in the title, which is lacking in the 1540 edition.  Beginning in 1544, the name "Regio Gigantum" was moved down and to the east of the small river.  In first state, it is above the small unnamed river.

The first state of the map is rare on the market.  A seminal map for American collectors. 

References: Schwartz/Ehrenberg, pp. 43, 45, 50; Cortazzi, H. Isles of Gold, pl. 12; Tooley, R.V. Maps and Mapmakers, p. 112, pl. 80; Burden 12.

Related Categories:
Maps of America
Maps of America
Maps of the Western Hemisphere

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