1672. A Chart of the South Sea [1st English Map of the Pacific Ocean]

  • A Chart of the South Sea [1st English Map of the Pacific Ocean]

A Chart of the South Sea [1st English Map of the Pacific Ocean] information:

Year of creation: 
Resolution size (pixels): 
 2145x1762 px
Disk Size: 
Number of pages: 

Print information. Print size (Width x height in inches):
Printing at 72 dpi 
  29.79 х 24.47
Printing at 150 dpi 
 14.3 х 11.75
Printing at 300 dpi 
 7.15 х 5.87

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A Chart of the South Sea [1st English Map of the Pacific Ocean]

Unrecorded state of John Seller's map of the Pacific Ocean, the first English map of the Pacific.

John Seller's map of the Pacific Ocean is the first English map of the Pacific.

First issued in 1675, it is a map of exceptional rarity and importance for the region. Abel Tasman's discovery of States Land (New Zealand) in 1642 is noted, with 9 place names, including 3 Kings Island, Sand Hills and Steep Point. To the West, Anthony Van Diemen's Land is shown with 8 place names.

Japan, The Land of Eso and Companies Land are shown, as are the Ladrones and a projection of Nova Guinea which foretells its being shown as attached to Australia.

The islands discovered by Hernand Galego in 1576 appear, as do many other islands in the South Pacific. Nice detail along the west Coast, from Fretum Anian to the Straits of Magellan.

California is shown as an island, with San Diego, P. Sir Francis Drake, Santa Barbara, Catalina, Mendocino and Monte Rey all named. The Gulf Coast, and the Southeastern US are also shown, extending to Port Royal and naming C May, C Francis, Augustin B, Florida, B. Tompa (Tampa) and B. Joseph, etc.

While Seller was known to have based some of his work on Goos, this map appears to loosely derive from Jansson's map of 1650, although many features (California, Companies Land, Tierra Del Fuego) are substantially updated and revised, and Jansson had no coverage of the Gulf Coast or East Coast, making the map unique in its coverage.

The present example is an unrecorded variant, most likely post-dating the two known states of the map. Burden notes the following states:

  • 1675: Imprints reads By John Seller Hydrographer to the King's Most Excellent Majestie
  • 1677: Imprint reads. By J. Seller, J. Colson, W. Fisher, J. Atkinson & J. Thornton

It is possible that this chart was issued as early as 1672. Phillips notes a copy of the chart in a copy of Atlas Martimus dated [1672 ?], which lists the title of the map as issued here, but with no credit to Seller or the Seller consortium as noted above (Phillips 4153). The 1675 edition listed by Phillips also lacks the imprint (4154). However, no "John Seller" imprint is listed, so it is possible that Phillips' description is incomplete. It is also possible that the map was intended to appear in the Atlas Maritimus of 1708, which contains other charts lacking the imprint below the title, however we were not able to locate any recorded examples.

The map has not appeared in a dealer or auction catalogue in the past 30 years.

McLaughlin 58; Wagner 410, Tooley 39, Leighly 66.

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Item information:

Year of creation:
2145x1762 px
Number of pages:
John Seller.

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