WALDSEEMÜLLER, MARTIN. 1470-1521.
Tabula Terre Nove. [Strassburg: 1513.] Woodcut map with full hand-coloring, 420 x 525 mm., upper right margin and corner restored, a small triangular section of the corner in careful manuscript as well as the first 3 letters of Oceanus, old damp staining.
THE FIRST REALISTICALLY OBTAINABLE MAP OF THE AMERICAS: WALDSEEMÜLLER'S FAMOUS "ADMIRAL'S MAP," published in Johann Schott's 1513 edition of Ptolemy's Geographia. The map was drawn up by Waldseemueller and a team of 3 other geographers working for the King of Lorraine to produce a series of proper modern maps of the world. Most of the woodblocks were completed by 1509 but remained unpublished until 1513. The map shows a continuous coastline between North and South America, with the north coast of South America being the map's most prominent single feature; at its eastern extremity it turns south as far as the Rio de la Plata. The Carribean islands of "Isabella" (Cuba), "Spagnolla" (Hispaniola), and "Boriguem" (Puerto Rico) are shown, along with many other islands. It was previously thought that the "Admiral" credited by Waldseemüller as being the main source for this map was Columbus, but it seems more likely he was in fact referring to Amerigo Vespucci, who, in 1508 had been appointed the first Piloto Mayor, and whose reports Waldseemueller had used in drawing up his famous world map of 1507. The depiction of the West Indies owes itself to Columbus and that of the South American coast to the voyages of Vespucci. A very rare map, it seems not to have appeared separately at auction in the last 35 years either in America or the UK, and of the complete atlas only 8 copies are recorded. Burden 3; Deak 5; Harrisse pp 442 & 477; Karrow pp. 563-93; Pastoureau 371-75.