Cuba Insula - Hispaniola. - #2119

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DATE: 1609

MAP MAKER: Gerard Mercator.

SIZE: 7 3/16" X 5 5/8".

PRICE: $725.00


Gerard Mercator (Kremer); 1512-1594.
Arnold Mercator, son; 1537-1587.
Rumold Mercator, son; c1540-c1599.
Bartolomeus Mercator, son; 1540-1563.
Gerard Mercator, grand son; c1565-1656.
Joannes Mercator, grand son; c1565-1595.
Michael Mercator, grand son; c1567-1600.

A towering figure of modern mapping, Gerard Mercator's name is often associated in the same breath with the Alexandria father of cartography: Claudius Ptolemy.
Above all, he is still well known for his systematic use of a certain type of projection which permits to plot a constant compass bearing course as a straight line on the sea charts.
He also extended his influence over the land surveying techniques, and was very instrumental in making possible the updating of the shape of various landmasses (unchanged since Ptolemy described them in the second century).
Born in the Flanders, he studied astronomy and math in Louvains, and established himself as an instrument and globe maker. The excellence of his work brought him to the attention of Carlos V of Spain. He then switched most of his work to the production of maps.
Of note, his remake of Ptolemy "Geographica", and his 3 volume "Atlas", first ever geography book known as atlas (1585- part I, 1589-part II, 1595-part III completed and published by his descendants).
Said Atlas plates were purchased in 1602 by Jodocus Hondius. With his two sons Jodocus II and Henricus, he published enlarged editions, and at a later date associated with Jan Jansson for the same purpose. The final form being the "Atlas Novus" by Jansson between 1638 and 1666.
A variant of the atlas, the "Atlas Minor", was published with great success by Hondius/Jansson in 1607.

Cuba Insula - Hispaniola.

This relatively small map (7 3/16" X 5 5/8") originally designed by Mercator, was miniaturized, re-engraved and published by Jodocus Hondius and Jan Jansson the elder, in their "Atlas Minor".
This particular example seems to have been printed for its 1609 german version.
From the top left, clockwise, the insets show:
- The Havana bay (with the delineation of the inlets generally accepted at that time), the city itself on the river, the forts defending the bay entrance, and what looks like gun emplacement along the coast. - The Cuba island, (the west coast delineation is very influenced by the Langenes earlier work), with a high level of cityfication (of note: the little church icon representing the city of Havana is quite small compared to some others, giving a clue about the relative importance of the town at that time).
- Santo Domingo (or Hispaniola), also with a large number of population centers. Note that the Haiti coastline on this inset is quite different from the coast line shown on the Cuba is more in line with the Gastaldi/Ruscelli earlier work.
- Margarita (or Margareta), then a jumping point to the fabled "El Dorado"..
- Puerto Rico (or S Ioannis), with only one town: S Ian de Porto Rico.
- Jamaica (influence of Gastaldi again: see the spelling for the town of Sevilla la Nueva).
German text on verso.





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