Fabulous, ornate sea chart of the northern Atlantic Ocean, filled with important historical and geographic details. Published in Coronelli’s Atlante Veneto, the map is dedicated to Giovanni Grimani with his coat of arms in the elaborate title cartouche.
The chart includes considerable coastline detail particularly along the eastern seaboard of North America, the West Indies and the northern coast of South America. The detail is confined primarily to coastlines. The ocean is crossed with rhumb lines and the large title cartouche is composed of two mermen and sugar cane.
Three particularly interesting notations include:
1. A note in South America which details three openings to the Great River of the Amazons, the best of which is in the middle leading to Gurupa. The other two are to be avoided, on account of violent tides and rough water which no anchor can hold.
2. A caption above the Grand Banks of Newfoundland stating that from April 19th to July the fisherman of many nations sail to this area to catch baccala (cod). As detailed by Mark Kurlansky in both Cod and Salt, when Basque whalers applied salting techniques to cod, they found it preserved particularly well. This gave the fish such importance in the European diet that by the mid-16th century the majority of fish eaten in Europe was cod. Sadly, Atlantic cod is largely extinct today; thus on this map we see traces of the history of human impact on the environment.
3. A patriotic caption in Labrador declares that Antonio Zeno of Venice discovered the region in 1390.