Exhibens Novi in mare Australe transitus…
Leyden, N. van Geelkercken, 1619. 4to oblong (233 x 177 mm) ; 275 pp. and 25 folding engraved plates and maps.
First Latin edition. A fine copy in contemporary vellum.
Admiral Joris van Spilbergen, in command of a small flotilla of six Dutch East India Company ships, sailed for the Moluccas via the Straits of Magellan in 1614, managing to show that it was possible to reach Java from the east via Cape Horn. THIS WAS THE FIRST ATTEMPTED CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF THE GLOBE TO BE CARRIED OUT WITH THE OFFICIAL SUPPORT OF THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT. This work is an account of his five-year voyage, and the engravings consist of charts, views of ports, islands and native peoples, and sea battles. The first edition in Dutch was published the same year, also in Leiden by Nicolaus van Geelkercken.
Spilbergen’s six ships left Texel in August 1614 and reached Brazil that December. Mutinies aboard two of the ships ensued and the four remaining ships passed through the Straits of Magellan. The crews were awed by the massive mountain ranges in Patagonia before making a rapid voyage north to Santa Maria and Valparaiso. They sailed then to Mexico where they captured and occupied Acapulco for a week. In February 1616 Spilbergen arrived in the Philippines where he raided Manila-bound shipping for nearly a month, and then proceeded to Java. At Batavia, in Java he transferred to the ship Amsterdam for the voyage home by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and took with him Willem Cornelis Schouten, Jacob Le Maire and some of the crew of the confiscated vessel Eendracht. Le Maire died on the Indian Ocean, but the remaining crew arrived back in Holland in July 1617. This was the most successful Dutch circumnavigation to date, with little loss of life and considerable profit.
The splendid series of engraved plates includes the very important map of Le Maire’s and Schouten’s route across the Pacific as well as maps of the Strait of Magellan and Manila, the Moluccas, battle- scenes, and various ports on the Pacific coast of Spanish America as far north as Acapulco. Jacob Le Maire’s voyage was an important prelude to Tasman’s voyage of 1642/3 who sailed, on the last lap of his voyage, partly through seas first crossed by Le Maire. Le Maire’s expedition opened up an entirely new route across the southern Paci c, quite different from those that Magellan, Drake and others had explored. From the journals, it is clear how much de Quiros had infiuenced Le Maire who confidently believed in the existence of a southern continent. If Le Maire’s train of thought had not been disturbed by the sober considerations of Schouten, who was more of a practical-minded sailor than he was an explorer, and if the westerly course had been kept, the Dutch would have had the chance of discovering the important east coast of Australia 150 years before James Cook… » (Schilder). Early annotations on the title page.
Alden 619/133; Sabin 89450; Borba de Moraes II, 276; Tiele-Muller 66; Tiele 1029; JCB 3, II, 143; Tooley 593; J.-P. Duviols, L’Amérique espagnole vue et rêvée, p. 392-395 ; Howgego S159; Landwehr, (VOC) 361; Schilder, pp.32- 37 ; Landwehr, VOC, 361 (with complete listing of plates).