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The First Printed Map of the Pacific Ocean
Old color example of Ortelius' Maris Pacifici . . . , the first printed map of the Pacific Ocean.
Ortelius's Maris Pacifici map was first issued in 1590. The map is based upon Mercator's world map of 1569, with details from 25 Portuguese manuscript maps of Bartolomeo de Lasso, which Plancius obtained and later used for his own world map. Ortelius shows the Moluccas and the Philippines, already the site of considerable Dutch activity and a misprojected Japan. An odd Isla de Plata appears above Japan. Guam (Isla de Ladrones) is shown. New Guinea appears much different than on Ortelius' World map of 1588, suggesting he may have drawn additional information from an unrecorded voyage. Among other notable features, it is detached from Terra Australis. The Solomons or Melanesia are located, as are some of the islands of Micronesia. This was the first map to focus on the Pacific Ocean.
The map reflects a much smaller body of water than the true size of the Pacific. The treatment of America and most notably the Northwest Coast, is reminiscent of Hondius' America. This map and the Hondius/Le Clerc's rare map of 1589 (known only in the 1602 edition), have a curious and not fully understood relationship as to which is truly the first map of the Pacific, although because no example of the 1589 Hondius/ Le Clerk has been discovered, this map retains primacy.
Ortelius' The atrum Orbis Terrarum, is widely regarded as the first modern atlas. At the time of its publication, it was the most expensive book ever produced. Between 1570 and 1612, it was issued in 31 editions and 7 languages.
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