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Visualizing the New World Collection

This Collection traces the progress of global cartography during the nine decades between 1569 and 1659. Our Perfect Recreations™ of these four maps begin with Mercator's first projection of the world and concludes with the pair of DuVal maps of the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

The 1587 Orbis Terrae, the map primarily responsible for spreading knowledge of the still widely used Mercator’s Projection, is the Mercators' own reworking in a double hemisphere format of the 1569 work that profoundly re-imagined the world. One year later, Ortelius published the 1570 Typus Orbis Terrarum, the “mother map” from the first modern world atlas. Relying on the best available information gathered during the 16th century's great voyages of discovery, these maps literally connected the known dots to give shape to the New World.

By the 1630's, expanded exploration and knowledge of the Arctic allowed Henrick Hondius to produce his 1636 map of the north polar regions, thereby filling in some of the blanks in the maps of the 1500s. Leaving open the prospect of the hoped for Northwest Passage, both Hondius and Pierre DuVal left unconnected a number of key coordinates. DuVal's Western Hemisphere map contains a clear depiction of a long-held misunderstanding of the western edge of North America: namely, that California was an island.

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