Sunday, 27 January 2013

The World

Card no 353 – Irina (Russia)
A new and accurate map of the world  - Drawn according to the truest descriptions latest Discoveries and best observations that have been made by English or Strangers 1626.

The map is dated 1626 and was created by John Speed but it was based on William Grent's rare, separately issued map of 1625.  It is considered one of the earliest published world maps to be printed in English.

This was the first atlas map to show the cartographic curiosity of California as an island, which persisted for nearly 100 years. It was also one of the first to show the settlement of New Plymouth. The coastline in North America is blank east of California and swings wildly to the west in the northern regions of Canada and Alaska. The Straits of Magellan are inaccurately shown and Tierra de Fuego is left open to the west. The Southerne Unknowne Land shows the large conjectured continent covering much of the southern hemisphere.

This highly decorative production is surrounded by two celestial hemispheres, figuring allegorical representations of the four elements - Water, Earth, Air and Fire -  plus portraits of Ferdinand Magellan, Oliver van der Noort, Thomas Cavendish and Sir Francis Drake. The corners are filled with an astronomical table, an armillary sphere, and eclipses of the sun and moon. It has several lengthy notes - not decipherable on this postcard size version - including comments on the South Pole and the Straits of Magellan, Sir Francis Drake and others.

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