America noviter delineata
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1631 Merian map of the Western Hemisphere with polar insets
This is the uncommon, larger version of Merian’s map of the Americas, based on the cartography of Jodocus Hondius’s map of 1618.
North America features a large inset of the north polar region including Greenland and Iceland. It is positioned prominently to cover up unknown interior regions of modern-day Canada. A large, bulging Virginia and an odd New England coastline are drawn, and the continent is filled with important place names (including many Indian villages) and geographical features. The western coastline above California extends toward Asia, making the continent too wide. The mythical Seven Cities of Cibola are situated on a lake, which is imagined as the source of the Rio Grande. There is only a hint of the Great Lakes and no Long Island.
For its part, South America is depicted oversized, with Brazil extending far out into the Atlantic. The continent is filled with depictions of cannibals, explorers, animals, and pictorial mountain ranges. A mythical lake, Parime Lacus, is situated on the equator.
A strapwork cartouche with skulls and bones, sea monsters lurking in the oceans, and cannibals preparing a feast, all give this map a stunning macabre style.
Published in Newew Welt und Americanische Historien.
Strong and dark impression. Some professional restoration; backed on Japanese tissue paper.
Burden, Philip D. The Mapping of North America: a list of printed maps, 1511-1670. Rickmansworth, Herts.: Raleigh Publications, 1996, 235.