Double-page engraved map of North America on watermarked laid paper. 260 x 390mm margins to the platemark, a Strong Fine Impression, inlaid Lafreri-style to a larger sheet 550 x 740mm,. Second state with Venetijs aeneis formis Bolognini Zalterij Anno MDLXVI imprint below the title. Venice, 1566
This very scarce map of North America is finely engraved in the sixteenth-century Lafreri school style, this is the second printed map to depict the mythical Strait of Anian in the north-west, dividing the Asian and North American continents. The first was Giacomo Gastaldi’s world map of 1561 which exists in only one example, effectively making this the first obtainable map to show the North American landmass as a separate continent.
Produced in Venice during the period when that city was at the zenith of the world’s map publishing, it “represented an important epoch in the history of cartography in respect of Western North America” (Wheat). The opening from the “Mare Setentrionale Incognito” represented the much romanticized and hoped-for Northwest Passage to the China Sea originated by Marco Polo. While this myth was unfounded, the findings of several early Spanish explorations are sources of information included on the western portion of the map: Francisco de Ulloa from 1539-1540 to the head of the Gulf of California; Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542-1543, marking San Diego Bay (P. de S. Michel) and the Sierra Nevada mountains; interior discoveries of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1540-1542 are also included.
Burden 33; Woodward, “The Forlani Map of North America”, Imago Mundi 46; Tooley, “Maps in Italian Atlases of the Sixteenth Century”, Imago Mundi 3, pages 12-47; Cohen, “Mapping of the West”, pages 29-30.