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Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula: Hondius 1630 [First State]

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  • Title: Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula
  • Author: Henricus Hondius
  • Date: 1630
  • Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Very Good +
  • Inches: 21.25 x 15 [Image]
  • Centimeters: 54 x 38.1 [Image]
  • Product ID: 306142

More than 300 years before the space race, European map-makers were engaged in another contest of exploration. But instead of being first to set foot on a distant heavenly body, they were racing to map the one we live on. In the early seventeenth century, the two top contenders in this race were the houses of Hondius and Blaeu. The rivalry between these map-making families spanned generations and involved business practices that would undoubtedly violate modern copyright laws.

This beautiful and rare antique map dates to 1630 and represents an attempt by Henricus Hondius to catch up with his map-making nemesis. Willem Blaeu had recently been working on an atlas, the first his house was to release. Up to that point, the Hondius family had had the market cornered in atlases. In response, Henricus partnered with cartographer Jan Janssonius to update the Atlas his father had released 30 years previously. This amazing old map was one of the results.

This map represents the most up-to-date cartographic information of the time, though not all of that information would prove to be reliable. California is depicted as an island, a cartographic error that would persist on most maps until the mid-eighteenth century. On the other hand, this was the first widely-distributed map to depict any part of Australia, which the Dutch had recently explored in part at the time of publication. The area encompassed by Antarctica is labeled "Lis Incognita." Also depicted are English colonies labeled "Virginia," "Nova Anglia," and Nova Britannica." The colony of New Amsterdam, present-day New York, is labeled "Nova Belgium" on the map. 

The map is surrounded by an elaborate border with portraits at each corner depicting Julius Caesar, Claudius Ptolemy, Mercator and Jodocus Hondius (Henricus' father and founder of the House of Hondius). Other details include a celestial globe at top-center (Hondius was in the globe business as well) and beautiful renditions of the four elements. Additionally, an image at bottom-center depicts a crowned Europa receiving gifts from figures representing the New World, Africa, and Asia.

About Henricus Hondius:

Henricus Hondius (1597-1651) was a Dutch cartographer, engraver, and publisher who is considered one of the most important mapmakers of the 17th century. He was born in Amsterdam, the son of the cartographer Jodocus Hondius, and he learned the art of mapmaking from his father. In 1606, he published his first map, a world map based on the work of Gerardus Mercator. This map was a great success, and it helped to establish Hondius's reputation as a leading cartographer.

Over the next few decades, Hondius produced a wide variety of maps, including maps of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. He also published a number of atlases, including the Mercator-Hondius Atlas, which was one of the most popular atlases of the 17th century. Hondius's maps were known for their accuracy and detail, and they were used by explorers, merchants, and scholars all over Europe.

Hondius died in Amsterdam in 1651. He was a highly accomplished cartographer and publisher, and his work had a significant impact on the development of cartography in the 17th century.