Theodore de Bry's fascinating map of the West Indies is based on the Milanese sailor Girolamo Benzoni, who travelled between 1541 and 1556 in these waters. Florida is derived from that of the Le Moyne map of 1591, with the flat shape of the southern land tongue. It is one of the earliest maps to detail northern South America and one of the few Caribbean maps of the period. The map was engraved to accompany the fourth part of de Bry's Grand Voyages.
The islands of the West Indies are represented disproportionately large, and the Bahamas with the Islands Bahama and Lucaya are placed too far north. The legends indicate the four voyages of Christopher Columbus, and one of the earliest mentions of the Gulf Stream.
J. Potter states about this map in Collecting Antique Maps, p. 164:
One of the most spectacular maps of any part of the world from the [Age of Discovery] is the map Occidentalis Americae partis.... The map is beautiful designed and engraved and very scarce.
|Theodor de Bry
|Occidentalis Americae Partis, vel, Earum Regionum quas Christophorus Columbus Primu Detexit Tabula Chorographicae Multorum Auctorum Scriptis, Praesertim Vero ex Hieronymi Benzoni ... Theodoro de Bry Leod. Anno M D XCIIII
|Theodor de Bry, Frankfurt, 1594
|32.8 x 43.7 cm (12.9 x 17.2 inches)
|34.9 x 45.4 cm (13.7 x 17.9 inches)
|Burden, P.D.: The Mapping of North America No. 83; The Map Collector, Issue 9 (Garratt); Potter, J.: Collecting Antique Maps, p. 164
Theodor de Bry was a Flemish engraver and publisher, born in 1528 in Liege. 1578 he moved with his family to Frankfurt am Main, where he founded an engraving and publishing company.
In the years 1586 and 1588 he lived in London, where he worked with the geographer Richard Hakluyt. He collected travel reports and illustrations of European research expeditions. After his return in 1589, T. de Bry and his sons Johann Theodor and Johann Israel began to publish the two most important collections of Renaissance travelogue. Between 1590 and 1634, they published under the title America and the New World and India orientalis a comprehensive work out of 27 volumes, which are the most important travel books of the 16th Century. Equipped with large copper plate illustrations and explanatory text, a work arose that documents until today, how the countries of the Americas, Africa and Asia and its inhabitants looked like at the time of discovery and how the Europeans saw them.
Theodor de Bry was able to publish only six parts of his complete work. After his death in 1598, the work was continued by his sons and later by Johann Theodor's son-in-law Matthew Merian until 1634.
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