Hand coloured engraved map, decorative title cartouche, ocean heavily embellished by ships, sea monsters and mermaids, central vertical fold, English text on verso, slight overall toning, fold reinforced, overall size 440 x 550mm, Amsterdam, 1631 [c.1633]
A highly decorative map of Africa, a classic example of Dutch cartography. Embellished inside the continent with lions, tigers and elephants, and in the ocean with seven sailing ships, sea monsters, flying fish and Neptune. Originally engraved by Jodocus Hondius Jr. (1593-1629), as part of a set of four continent maps to be offered in his brother Henricus Hondius’ Atlas published in 1631. The copperplates of the map continued to be held within the family and were used by Jodocus’ brother-in-law, Johannes Janssonius (Jan Jansson), in his Atlas Novus published from 1646-1657.
Hondius’ map follows the general geography of Willem Blaeu’s wall map of 1608 and folio map of 1617. The coastline in particular shows considerable knowledge and the general shape of the continent is far more accurate than Hondius’ previous maps. Geographical improvements include a more rounded southern Cape, the naming of the Rio de Spiritu Santo and of the Cuama River, the insertion of Zimbaos and alteration in the shape of Madagascar. However, the interior of the continent reveals European ignorance that will last until the 19th century. The map is filled with fictitious rivers and mountains inherited from 2nd Century Alexandrian geographer Ptolemy. For example, the source of the Nile is shown to be the twin lakes Zaflan and Zaire and the Niger is shown to be running in the wrong direction. A rare English text edition of this highly decorative and important map.