Nice example of this fine miniature map of the North Polar regions, being a reduced copy of the first separate map of the North Polar Regions.
The map is extended to 60 degrees, to incorporate the recent explorations in search of the North West and North East Passages by Frobisher and Davis. The Straits of Anian is clearly shown. The pole itself is no longer made up of four surrounding islands, illustrated by Mercator in his large map, which myth had it, were separated by four strong flowing rivers. These carried the oceans of the world towards a giant whirlpool at the pole where there stood a large rock. An account of this myth in Mercator's own hand still exists.
Though first issued in the 1628 edition of Atlas Minor Gerardi Mercatoris published by Jansson, and often listed under Mercator, the map is Jansson's creation, as Phillip Burden notes:
It did not follow the school of Mercator, but used the knowledge of the many recent voyages of exploration for the North West and North East Passages. Unfortunately Hudson Bay itself was one area that was omitted. Here Janssonius tried to reconcile that which was known of the North West Passage with the age-old belief in a Lake Conibus, feeding into the polar sea from the north of the continent. Some other theories illustrated include the fictitious islands in the North Atlantic, the most notable of which is Frisland. A rudimentary Strait of Anian is depicted.
Burden attributes the engraving of this particular plate to Abraham Goos.
Jan Janssonius (also known as Johann or Jan Jansson or Janszoon) (1588-1664) was a renowned geographer and publisher of the seventeenth century, when the Dutch dominated map publishing in Europe. Born in Arnhem, Jan was first exposed to the trade via his father, who was also a bookseller and publisher. In 1612, Jan married the daughter of Jodocus Hondius, who was also a prominent mapmaker and seller. Jonssonius’ first maps date from 1616.
In the 1630s, Janssonius worked with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius. Their most successful venture was to reissue the Mercator-Hondius atlas. Jodocus Hondius had acquired the plates to the Mercator atlas, first published in 1595, and added 36 additional maps. After Hondius died in 1612, Henricus took over publication; Janssonius joined the venture in 1633. Eventually, the atlas was renamed the Atlas Novus and then the Atlas Major, by which time it had expanded to eleven volumes. Janssonius is also well known for his volume of English county maps, published in 1646.
Janssonius died in Amsterdam in 1664. His son-in-law, Johannes van Waesbergen, took over his business. Eventually, many of Janssonius’ plates were sold to Gerard Valck and Pieter Schenk, who added their names and continued to reissue the maps.