Carta prima generale d’America dell’India Occidentale e Mare del Zur
The earliest published sea chart to focus on the California coast!
Magnificent sea chart with a rare geographical scope extending from Central America to northwestern South America and including both a detailed depiction of the West Indies and South Florida, as well as an inset of the coast of California. The chart offers a wealth of coastline information, including place names, shoals, currents, and winds. This especially true in the West Indies around Cuba and off the Florida coast.
The large inset is an important map in of itself, tracing the coastline of California. The map is curious for its mixture of Spanish and Portuguese place names and for the appearance of an enormous and fictitious bay labeled, Golfo Profondo, together with a note: “This gulf has recently been reported as very large but has not been well explored.” At the north end of the gulf is Capo Engaño, the Cape of Disappointment, so named because it was at this latitude that Spanish explorers expected to find the north end of the Island of California.
The chart discusses divergent opinions on the correct latitude of Cape Mendocino, which it plots at about 43º N latitude, but includes a note stating: “Some believe Cape Mendocino is at 41º N Latitude.” The actual latitude of the cape is just above 40º N.
The chart is ambiguous as to the insularity of California. While a right angle and jutting eastward line immediately above Cape Mendocino suggests a Briggs-model Island of California, Leighly points out that Dudley’s map follows the nomenclature of the Daniell map, which is thought to have been based on the official map of Vizcaino’s voyage that did not posit an island.
Among the important coastal cities and bays indicated on the map are P. dell nuovo Albion scoperro dal Drago C. Inglese (Point New Albion discovered by the English Captain Drake), P. di Moneerei (Monterey Bay; plotted just below 37º N latitude), the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara, and P. di S. Diego (San Diego; plotted just below 35º N latitude.
A large Quivira — the legendary city said to possess enormous wealth — which by this time had captured the imaginations of Europeans for over a century, and would persist on maps for the rest of the 17th century, is placed inland.
The title of the chart is found in a simple, elegant cartouche in the interior of Peru. The compass rose is equally lovely.
Trimmed margins and some centerfold discoloration; fine, crisp engraving. Expert repairs.
Wagner 350; cf. Leighly pp. 36-7. Wendt, plate 10.