Item #5591 Sebastian MUNSTER.

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A Rare Example in Early Color
[1540 [1572]]


Americas.  MUNSTER, Sebastian.  [Basle: 1540 [c. 1544-50]]  Novae Insulae. 10 ½ x 13 ½ inches.  Fine early color; some age toning, a few marginal stains, else excellent.                           

            The earliest collectible map of the Western Hemisphere in rare example with original or early color.  Also, this example is an unrecorded variant state; see below.  This was also the earliest map to refer to the Pacific Ocean (along with Munster's world map) by a variant of its present name, here Mare pacificum.  It is the second map focusing on the Americas to name Florida.  The map is also one of the earliest to show Japan prominently, which appears just off the west coast of Mexico.

            The depiction of North America is dominated by one of the most dramatic geographic misconceptions to be found on early maps--the so-called Verrazanean Sea.  The Pacific Ocean on the map cuts deeply into North America so that there is only a narrow isthmus along part of its seaboard.  This was the result of Verrazano mistaking the waters to the west of the Outer Banks, the long barrier islands outlining the North Carolina coast, as the Pacific Ocean.

            The division of the New World between Spain and Portugal is recognized on the map by the standard of the Crown of Castile planted in Puerto Rico, here called Sciana.  Surprisingly, the mouth of the Mississippi River is quite accurately located though it is shown as a two-pronged waterway.  "Terra Florida" is the only place name found in what is today the United States.

            Burden does not list a state of this map with this title.  Also, this example shares characteristics of Burden’s states 3, 4 and 5, but does not exactly match any of these.

 Schwartz/Ehrenberg, Mapping of America, pp. 43, 45, 50; Cortazzi, H. Isles of Gold pl.12; Tooley, R.V. Maps and Mapmakers, p.112, pl.80; Burden 12, state 13.


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