Scarce map of approach to the Juan Fernandez Islands, from the voyage of Le Maire and Schouten.
The Juan Fernandez archipelago had only recently been discovered on November 22, 1574, by the Spanish sailor Juan Fernández, who was sailing south between Callao and Valparaíso along a route which he also discovered, hundreds of miles west of the coast of Chile, which avoided the northerly Humboldt current. He called the islands Más Afuera, Más a Tierra, and Santa Clara.
Voyage of Schouten & Le Maire
Willem Cornelisz Schouten (1567-1625) was a navigator for the Dutch East India Company. He was the first to sail the Cape Horn route to the Pacific Ocean. Jacob le Maire (1585-1616) was a Dutch mariner who circumnavigated the earth in 1615-1616.
In 1615, Willem Cornelisz Schouten and Jacob le Maire sailed from Texel, in the Netherlands, in command of an expedition sponsored by Isaac Le Maire and his Australische Compagnie in equal shares with Schouten. One of the reasons for the voyage was to search for Terra Australis, which eluded them. A further objective was to evade the trade restrictions of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), by finding a new route to the Pacific and the Spice Islands.
In January 1616, they rounded Cape Horn, which Schouten named for his birthplace, the Dutch city of Hoorn and proceeded west. After failing to moor at the Juan Fernández Islands in early March, the ships crossed the Pacific in a fairly straight line, visiting several of the Tuamotus. Between April 21 and April 24, 1616, they were the first Westerners to visit the Northern Tonga islands: "Cocos Island" (Tafahi), "Traitors Island" (Niuatoputapu), and "Island of Good Hope" (Niuafo'ou). On April 28, they discovered the Hoorn Islands (Futuna and Alofi), where they were very well received and stayed until May 12. They then followed the north coasts of New Ireland and New Guinea and visited adjacent islands, including, on July 24, 1616, what became known as the Schouten Islands.
They reached the Northern Moluccas in August and finally Ternate, the headquarters of the VOC, on September 12,1616. Here they were enthusiastically welcomed by Governor-General Laurens Reael, admiral Steven Verhagen, and the governor of Ambon, Jasper Jansz.
They sailed on to Java and reached Batavia on October 28, 1616. Although they had opened an unknown route, Jan Pietersz Coen of the VOC claimed infringement of its monopoly of trade to the Spice Islands. Le Maire and Schouten were arrested and the Eendracht was confiscated. After being released, they returned from Batavia to Amsterdam in the company of Joris van Spilbergen, who was on a circumnavigation of the earth himself, be it via the traditional Strait of Magellan.
Le Maire was aboard the ship Amsterdam on this journey home, but died en route. Van Spilbergen was at his deathbed and took Le Maire's report of his trip, which he included in his book Mirror of the East and West Indies. The rest of the crew arrived in the Netherlands on July 1, 1617. Jacob's father Isaac, challenged the confiscation and the conclusion of the VOC, but it took him until 1622 until a court ruled in his favor. He was awarded 64,000 pounds and retrieved his son's diaries (which he then published as well), and his company was allowed trade via the newly discovered route. Unfortunately, by then, the Dutch West Indies Company had claimed the same waters.
Newe Welt und Americanische Historien 
The present engraving comes from Johann Ludwig Gottfried's abridgment of De Bry. The illustrations from this work are after Theodor de Bry's and Matthaeus Merian's works in parts 1-12 of the "Grand Voyages". The first edition of the abridgment was published in 1631. The second edition was published by Merian's heirs in Frankfurt in 1655.
Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) was a prominent Flemish engraver and publisher best known for his engravings of the New World. Born in Liege, de Bry hailed from the portion of Flanders then controlled by Spain. The de Brys were a family of jewelers and engravers, and young Theodor was trained in those artisanal trades.
As a Lutheran, however, his life and livelihood was threatened when the Spanish Inquisition cracked down on non-Catholics. De Bry was banished and his goods seized in 1570. He fled to Strasbourg, where he studied under the Huguenot engraver Etienne Delaune. He also traveled to Antwerp, London, and Frankfurt, where he settled with his family.
In 1590, de Bry began to publish his Les Grands Voyages, which would eventually stretch to thirty volumes released by de Bry and his two sons. The volumes contained not only important engraved images of the New World, the first many had seen of the geographic novelties, but also several important maps. He also published a collection focus on India Orientalis. Les Grands Voyages was published in German, Latin, French, and English, extending de Bry’s fame and his view of the New World.
Mathaus Merian (1593-1650) was the father of engraver Matthäus the Younger, and of the painter, engraver, and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian. He was born in Basel, Switzerland and trained in engraving in Zurich. After a time in Nancy, Paris and Strasbourg, he settled in Frankfurt. While there, he worked for Johann Theodor de Bry, the publisher and son of the travel writer. In 1617, he married Maria Magdalena de Bry, Johann Theodor’s daughter. In 1623, Merian took over the de Bry publishing house upon the death of his father-in-law. Merian’s best known works are detailed town views which, due to their accuracy and artistry, form a valuable record of European urban life in the first half of the sixteenth century