Very rare and historically important map of Africa by Levinus Hulsius.
This highly attractive map showcases a geographically progressive depiction of the continent, and is the first map to include recent Dutch discoveries in West Africa. The basis for much of the coastal information and place names on the map (except for the western regions) is derived from Filippo Pigafetta's map of Africa which accompanied his book Relatione del reame di Congo et delle circonvicine (Rome, 1591). Pigafetta, in turn, based his cartography on the account of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Lopes, who visited the Congo from 1578 to 1584. In 1588-9, Lopes travelled to Rome in order to present a report to Pope Sixtus V, and it was during this time that Lopes and Pigafetta became personally acquainrted. Pigafetta's map was popularized by its inclusion in Theodor De Bry's bestselling 'Grand Voyages', published in Hulsius's hometown of Frankfurt in 1598.
It is Hulsius' depiction of West Africa that is novel and important. Hulsius had access to recent Dutch voyages to the Grain Coast (modern Liberia) and Gold Coast (modern Ghana), and his depiction of thee areas is far more detailed and accurate than on any other contemporary maps. This is especially true with respect to the Grain Coast, of which Hulsius published the first definitive written account. Included on the present map are new details such as Cabo do Monte, "Nesurada"(Mesurado), Rio de S. Biante (Vicente), Cabo de S. Clemente, C. das Palmas, and Ponta de Cavallas (at the mouth of the Cavalla). Hulsius's map is very finely engraved, as fine stipple accents the inland lakes and some coastal areas, the style of the typography is delicate and well placed, and the composition is embellished with numerous ships and sea-monsters.
Levin (Levinus) Hulsius (1546-1606) was a brilliant polymath; a cartographer, historian, printer, linguist, lexicographer and a maker of scientific instruments. Born in Ghent, Flanders, he moved to Frankfurt where he established his career. Inspired by De Bry's work, Hulsius set about publishing an account of recent voyages to Africa, Asia and the Americas, which eventually ran to include twenty-six parts. Hulsius is generally regarded to have been more judicious than De Bry in his choice of sources, and his map of Africa is regarded as one of his finest and most important works.
The present example of the map is the second of Hulsius' two states. Hulsius' map of Africa is very rare and we are aware of only one other complete example appearing in a dealer's catalog during the last 30 years (also a second state).