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Stunning old color example of De Jode’s map of North America, the first full folio size atlas map to focus on North America.

Place/Date: Antwerp / 1593
Title: Americae Pars Borealis, Florida, Baccalaos, Canada, Corterealis…
51 x 35.5 cm (20 x 14 in)
Original color
Condition Rating


Marvelous, late-Renaissance map encapsulating the European understanding of North America 100 years after the voyage of Christopher Columbus.

De Jode’s map is the first map of North America printed outside of Italy and is preceded only by the separately issued Forlani/Zaltieri map of 1565 and Porcacchi’s miniature copy of the Forlani/Zaltieri map. This map was thus the first folio size atlas map to feature North America.

De Jode’s picture of America is dominated by a large Northwest Passage which connects to a single “Lago de Conibus.” Three small freshwater lakes are also shown, but no Great Lakes. In the lower left is an inset showing six natives of Virginia all derived from the drawings of John White. To the right of the title is a scene depicting the attack on Frobisher’s vessel by native Indians.

The problem that De Jode faced was how to combine geographical detail from two different primary sources, the French reports from maritime Canada and the English reports regarding the Carolinas, which contained many inconsistencies in the common regions treated by these two powers. When blended together, the result was the great contraction and misplacement of the region between Maine and Virginia, with the coastline depicted in an east-west orientation, with no real sense of Cape Cod, Long Island, New York or New Jersey, and the Delaware Bay.

The map contains a variety of annotations regarding early explorations in the New World, including discussions of Verrazzano, De Niza, Cabot, Raleigh and others.

Giovanni da Verrazzano was an Italian explorer who charted the Atlantic coast of North America between the Carolinas and Newfoundland, including New York Harbor in 1524; he was the first European to reach present day New York, nearly 85 years before Henry Hudson. The Verrazano–Narrows Bridge in New York was named after him.

Verrazzano was sent by King Francis I of France to explore the East Coast of North America for a route to the Pacific. He made landfall near what would be Cape Fear, North Carolina, in early March and headed north to explore. He became excited when he encountered a narrow strip of land a large stretch of open water. He was convinced that this large body of water was the South Sea, today known as the Pacific Ocean. He proceeded up the coast expecting at any moment to find a passage that lead to the open sea. However, no such passage existed. What we know today, that Verrazzano did not know then, was that he was in the Pamlico Sound. This is a large lagoon off the coast of North Carolina near the Outer Banks.

After returning to Europe, Verrazzano made two more voyages to the Americas. On the second, in 1528, he was killed and eaten by the natives of one of the Lower Antilles, probably on Guadeloupe.

Overall, Verrazzano made great contributions to North American exploration. In his account of his 1524 voyage to the North American continent, and exploration of the coast from Florida to Newfoundland, Verrazzano recorded details unknown to European mapmakers. His discoveries shaped the construction and look of maps that would be used by explorers who came after him.

The map includes many remarkable early cartographic details. The depiction of the double Northwest Passage is bold and unmistakable. The course of the St. Lawrence River, flowing across the continent to Texas is equally striking. Cebola (or Cibola), the seven cities paved in gold, are clearly depicted, and the details in the Southwest and California are remarkable. A river flows inland from the Farallones and across the coastal range.

We find for the second time an inland lake in the west with a legend about Marcos de Niza next to it; its first appearance was on the Hakluyt map of 1587. Marcos de Niza was the first explorer to report the Seven Cities of Cibola, and his report launched the Coronado expedition. De Niza was a priest who was sent north from Mexico City by Viceroy Mendoza in 1538-39 to search for the wealthy cities that were rumored to be somewhere north of the frontier of New Spain. In early 1539 he left the frontier at Compostela and journeyed north into the unknown for several months. In the summer of 1539 he returned and wrote a report saying he had discovered the cities – in a province called Cibola (the present-day native American pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico). He said he reached the first city and saw it from a distance, but because his companion had been killed there, he returned without entering it.

Most popular writers claim Marcos reported gold in Cibola, but his original report says nothing about gold. Nonetheless, conquistadors in Mexico City were excited by his news and assumed Cibola would be as wealthy as the conquered Aztec empire. Marcos led Coronado’s army back to Cibola the next year, in 1540, but he became the scapegoat when Cibola turned out to have no gold, and the soldiers said he was a liar.


Cornelius de Jode

Cornelis de Jode (1568 – 1600) was a cartographer, engraver and publisher from Antwerp. He was the son of Gerard de Jode, also a cartographer.

When his father died in 1591, Cornelis de Jode took over the work on his father’s uncompleted atlas, which he eventually published in 1593 as Speculum Orbis Terrae.

After his death, the engraving plates were sold to J. B. Vrients (who also owned the Ortelius plates), and the complete work was not published again, in part to ensure the primacy of Ortelius productions.

Condition Description



Burden 81.

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