Copper engraved map, from a French edition of Bleau’s ‘Le Theatre du Monde’, contemporary hand colour, decorative title cartouche, ‘chequerboard’ scale indicating how, with Mercator’s projection, distances are increased towards the poles, embellished with figures that represent the Patagonian Giants, a fleet of seven ships in the ocean, coat of arms of D. Constantino Hugenio, three compass roses, rhumb lines, central vertical fold, French text on verso, Amsterdam, Johannes Blaeu, c.1640
A most attractive example of Bleau’s famous map of the Tierra del Fuego, Strait of Magellano and Patagonia. An important route to the Pacific during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this was the foundation for many other maps of Tierra del Fuego.
The inclusion of Cape Horn as a peninsula in particular would be adopted by other mapmakers including Jans Janssonius, John Ogilby, Pieter van der Aa, and Emanuel Bowen.
The unusual peninsula to the south, resembling a sharply angled triangle, was the result of the unclear reports from the Le Maire and Schouten expedition. Sponsored by independent Dutch merchants, they circumnavigated via Cape Horn from 1615-1617. The new-found strait provided a new route for ships from all nations to enter the Pacific which avoided the treacherous Straits of Magellan.
Even though Blaeu was the official hydrographer of the VOC, he too was caught up in the excitement about the new passage, as shown by his use of celebrated in the title of this map.It is a nice example of this highly desirable map and would be a central part of any collection of Patagonia, South America, or exploration.