Hispaniae Novae sivae magnae, recens et vera descriptio, 1579

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This is a map by Abraham Ortelius – an early map entitled “Hispaniae Novae Sivae Magnae, Recens et Vera Descriptio” that was made by Ortelius in 1579, so it’s one of the earlier maps in the collection. It basically depicts New Spain, which became Mexico for the most part, but also pushing up into parts of what is now the United States of America. The cartouches[1] are typical of Ortelius’ work in that in that mapmaker’s conception, a strap-type of design was highly popular, and you see two examples of it both in the lower left-hand corner and in the upper right-hand corner. And adding piquance[2] to the whole thing, various sardonic[3] characters or animals peer out from curls in the cartouche, and a devilish figure with horns appears on top.

This map features quite a number of cities in what again became- ultimately became Mexico. But in the period of time when it was still New Spain, there were many fables about what these cities were like, and some were reputed to have streets of gold, and, no doubt, maps like this only increased the ardor of future explorers to seek out those cities and make their riches.

[1] “Cartouche, in architecture, ornamentation in scroll form, applied especially to elaborate frames around tablets or coats of arms. By extension, the word is applied to any oval shape or even to a decorative shield, whether scroll-like in appearance or not.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/art/cartouche Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.
[2] Piquance can be defined as “a tart spicy quality” or “the quality of being agreeably stimulating or mentally exciting.” https://www.thefreedictionary.com/piquance Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.
[3] Sardonic can be defined as “disdainfully or skeptically humorous” or “derisively mocking.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sardonic Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.



For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1935586

La Florida / Peruviae Auriferae Regionis Typus / Guastecan

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This map is actually a collection of three maps that formed a part of the famous atlas that Abraham Ortelius, a Flemish mapmaker, made in the 16th Century. It actually includes three sections: one a part of the connecting tissue between the two continents of North and South America; one showing Florida; and one showing the Peruvian coast. Ortelius was one of the most decent mapmakers and collectors of maps. When he published his atlas, unlike many others who simply stole the ideas or the maps from someone else and attributed them to themselves, Ortelius always gave credit to the actual mapmaker. I particularly like the Peruvian coast, and, if you look at that, you’ll see the mountain ranges, of course the mountainous western coast of South America is famous. And this map would have been very useful to the Spanish as they continued their exploration and conquest of the South America and Central American portions of the Western Hemisphere. It’s also illustrated with some wonderful ships at sea, and communities that probably did not have anything very substantial in them are represented by little castles and somewhat larger structures than are real at various points in the mountainous Peruvian coast.



For more details, view the catalog record: https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1691629