Antique American Continent Map Reproductions

Americae Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio, Ortelius, Abraham, Antwerp, 1579

A reproduction of a hand-colored copper plate engraved map. Original size: 14 inches X 19-1/2 inches.

This very early map of the American continent was taken from the 1579 Latin edition of Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas of the World. It is one of the most easily identified and cartigraphically important maps of America from the 16th Century. After appearing for the first time in the 1570 edition of Ortelius' famous atlas, the map went through three major revisions.

The general shape of the continent was formed first by Gerard Mercator in 1569. The bulge in South America is the most notable feature of the map and later corrected. The West Coast of North America has a very inaccurate shape and this edition predates the appearance of Chesapeake Bay. California is not identified in this issue, but was added in the next edition of the map.

Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) was the "Father of Modern Cartography". He was the first to develop a compendium of maps to form a modern atlas.


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