Maris Pacifici

Famous map of the Pacific by Abraham Ortelius. This is the first printed map solely devoted to the Pacific, from Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, in its’ first and rarest state, dated 1589 but not included in the Theatrum until the … Read Full Description


S/N: ORTE-12-PI-1592L6–184178
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Full Title:

Maris Pacifici




Franz Hogenberg 
(1535 – 


In good condition, centre fold as issued.


Hand coloured copper engraving.

Image Size: 

x 350mm
Maris Pacifici - Antique Map from 1589

Genuine antique



Famous map of the Pacific by Abraham Ortelius.

This is the first printed map solely devoted to the Pacific, from Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, in its’ first and rarest state, dated 1589 but not included in the Theatrum until the following year.

It is based on Mercator’ world map of 1569, with details from portolan charts and rutters of the Portuguese Cosmographer to the King of Spain Bartolomeo de Lasso which Plancius had obtained and later used for his own world map. The Americas are based on a map engraved by Frans Hogenberg’s from the 1589 edition of the Theatrum the first map in which North America and South America are separately named. To the east of South America is a magnificent engraving of Magellan’ ship Victoria, the first to circumnavigate the world and enter the Pacific in 1520. It is accompanied by a quatrain in Latin which states: It was I who first circled the globe, my sails flying. You Magellan, I led to your new-found strait. It was I who circled the world by right am I called Victoria. Mine are the sails and the wings, the prize and the glory, the struggle and the sea. Magellan’ discovery of the Strait between South America and Tierra del Fuego showed that the mythical land of Terra Australis Incognita was not connected to the known world and led Magellan and others to speculate that Tierra del Fuego could be a northern tip of the great southern continent. New Guinea is shown separated from Terra Australis by a strait, differing from Ortelius’ world map from the same atlas, in which he shows it joined, with a note querying its status. New Guinea is named ‘ Guinea, quibusdum Terra de Piccinacoli’ (New Guinea, according to some the land of the Pinnacoli). This was from Andrea Corsali’ report to the Doge of Venice in October 1516 in which he stated that New Guinea, which he called Piccinacoli, was joined to the southern land. Although Torres had sailed through the treacherous strait in 1606, he hadn’ realised the significance of his two month navigation or his probable sighting of the Australian mainland which he had thought was a large island. It wasn’ until 1769 when Alexander Dalrymple, while translating Spanish letters originally obtained in the Philippines, recognised that Torres had indeed discovered the strait and named it after him. The Philippines, visited by Magellan in 1521, are shown, as are the Solomon Islands, discovered by Mendanas in 1567 but depicted much larger than their actual size. The map is beautifully decorated with strapwork title and dedication cartouches featuring swags, garlands and depictions of sculpture in relief.

1592L6 (text and typesetting identical to 1590L4 but here with page number 6 last line, small font, left aligned: habitantes mutu accepisse, non video quis testagari posset.),

References Broecke 12.1, Burden 74, ill. p.94, Clancy p.65, ill.5.6, Clancy (R) p.47, ill.pp.48-49, Cortazzi p.86, ill.21. Quirino p.18, ill. pp.18-19, Reinhartz p.47, ill.46-47, Suarez, pp.64-66, ill. front cover, ill. fig. 58, Tooley (A) pp.322-323, Walter p.186, ill.11G

Abraham Ortelius (1527 - 1598)

Ortelius was a Flemish cartographer, map seller and publisher. Ortelius was a leading cartographer who published the first modern atlas in 1570, Theatrum orbis terrarum in which each map was presented on a separate sheet. He initially trained as an engraver in 1547 and as an illuminator of maps. Influenced by Gerard Mercator he published his first map in 1564 and soon after published his famous atlas that changed the way maps were sold and published.

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