Leen Helmink Antique Maps

America by Hondius






Amsterdam, 1606


37.7 x 50.5 cms


Copper engraving

Stock number





$ 6250


"This map was engraved by Jodocus Hondius for his first edition of Gerard Mercator's atlas. Intended to be a grand comprehensive work, with the first part originally appearing in 1585, by Mercator's death in 1594 only two parts had been published. Continued by his family, it was still incomplete for the 1602 edition, lacking most importantly a section on the Iberian peninsula. During this time it was also competing with the remarkably successful atlas of Abraham Ortelius which averaged almost obe edition per year. By 1604 Jodocus Hondius was flourishing, and in that year acquired all of the plates from Mercator's descendants. He immediately set about engraving many new maps to augment and complete the work, amongst which was a set of the four continents. He also had the original text expanded by Petrus Montanus. In the following year he brought out Mercator's Ptolemy, and in 1606 his first edition of the general atlas which proved instantly popular, selling out within a year.

Right up until 1630 this map was issued alongside the 'America sive India Nova' b Michael Mercator, 1595. Since the text describing America was always used by the Mercator, this one is always lacking one. Produced on a stereographic projection like more and more maps of the time, it is an amalgam of various sources. It incorporates a more correct west coast of South America and narrows still further the longitudinal width of New Spain at the Tropic of Cancer, making it just 10 degrees, much closer to reality. However, just like all cartography before, it still retains an enlarged North American continent. A Plancius type depiction of Newfoundland occurs alongside a typical period representation of the east coast, with a more protruding Virginia than usual. Various scenes taken from the earlier volumes of de Bry's 'Grand Voyages' adorn the whole. Particularly notable is the native Brazilian scene illustrating the method used to make a local beverage, derived from Hans Staden's voyage as recorded by de Bry. There are various galleons, kayaks and Indian canoes along with a pair of birds perched on the inset."


"The acquisition of the Mercator plates by Jodocus Hondius was cause to reissue the atlas in 1606 with a series of new maps of the four continents.
The Hondius 'America' is a very attractive map with a scene appended from Theodore de Bry showing Brazilian natives making a local beverage.
Since the Michael Mercator map was published in the same volume, it is clear that Hondius' effort is the more modern version with the Drake landfall noted in California and the bulge removed from the west coast of South America.
The St. Lawrence River is seen as the gateway into the interior of the northern continent but without Great Lakes."