Old coloured sea chart of the North Pole. Printed in Amsterdam by Joan Blaeu in 1643.

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Reference 12043



Old coloured sea chart of the North Pole by Willem Blaeu. With Greenland and Canada, Iceland, Spitsbergen, Norway and the north coast of Russia. The map shows, the famous Northwest Passage, a connection between the Atlantic and the Pacific in the north of North America, does not exist.

Philip D. Burden in The Mapping of North America about this map:

The unknown north-west coast is conveniently hidden behind a decorative title cartouche. Two foxes, two hunters and a polar bear grace a second cartouche bearing the imprint. One unusual feature of this map is the attempt to show rhumb lines on a polar map...


CartographerWillem Janszoon Blaeu
TitleRegiones Sub Polo Arctico
Publisher, YearJoan Blaeu, Amsterdam, 1643-50
Plate Size41.1 x 53.0 cm (16.2 x 20.9 inches)
Sheet Size51.0 x 59.8 cm (20.1 x 23.5 inches)
ReferenceBurden, P.D.: The Mapping of North America No. 252 2nd state; Van der Krogt, P.: Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, 0020:2.2


A tear left of lower centrefold in the wide margin backed, a wormhole in upper margin in centrefold backed. Very good conditions with striking old colours.


Willem Janszoon Blaeu was born 1571 in Alkmaar. He was trained from 1594 to 1596 by the famous danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. 1599 he went to Amsterdam and founded a business as globe maker. Later he started producing map and sea charts, including his first world map in 1605. In 1633 he was appointed Hydrographer for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). His most famous work was the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum sive Atlas Novus of 1635, which was published until 1655 in total six volumes. After Blaeu's death in 1638 his sons Joan and Cornelis continued the business and finished the Atlas Novus and started an even larger work, the Atlas Maior, which reached 12 volumes. In 1672 a fire destroyed the printing house and most of the printing plates. Joan Blaeu died the following year, leaving the business to his three sons Willem (1635-1701), Pieter (1637-1706) and Joan II (1650-1712). While the business began to decline in the hands of his sons, the dominance of the Blaeu publishing house finally ended in 1703 when the V.O.C. stopped publishing maps bearing the Blaeu family name. Some of the surviving plates were bought by F. de Wit and Schenk & Valk.

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Willem Janszoon Blaeu: Regiones Sub Polo Arctico.
Old coloured sea chart of the North Pole. Printed in Amsterdam by Joan Blaeu in 1643.

North - South Pole - Blaeu, Willem Janszoon - Regiones Sub Polo Arctico

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