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Highly detailed oversized view Mexico City, from the 1671 edition of John Ogilby's America, one of the most influential works of the 17th Century.

This sweeping panorama of Mexico City was the first published view to identify Tenochtitlan as Mexico City. The view is one of the most important views of the great metropolis as it was in the sixteenth century. Every building and road is carefully mapped out and identified, giving the viewer a true picture of this thriving Spanish colony. A key at the bottom identifies the most important features and buildings.

The Aztec metropolis of Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325 in the center of a large lake. By 1500, it was one of the largest cities in the world, with broad avenues, magnificent temples, bridges, sluices and public marketplaces. Hernan Cortes first laid eyes of Tenochtitlan in 1519 and was immediately mesmerized by the city's size and grandeur. After years of fierce battle, Cortes conquered the city in August of 1521, and renamed it Mexico City.

Mexico City became the center of political and economic power in New Spain and one of the most important cities in the New World. The Spanish set about rebuilding the city, by draining the western shore of the lake and making the city a peninsula rather than an island.From Montanus'

John Ogilby Biography

John Ogilby (1600-1676) was an English geographer and publisher, one of the most prominent of the seventeenth century. Little is known of his early life but by 1619 he was apprenticed to John Draper, a dancing-master in London. He worked as a dancing-master, courtier, and theater owner form 1620-1641. From 1649 he worked as a poet, translator, and publisher of classical texts. It is only in the last decade of his life that he entered into geography.

In 1649, Ogilby published his first translation, of Virgil, and continued to put out translations in the 1650s and 1660s. In March 1661 he was reconfirmed as master of revels in Ireland and appointed master of the king’s imprimeries, or king’s printer. From 1662 to 1665 he was in Ireland, where he most likely met Robert Boyle. He returned to London only to lose much of his printing stock in the Great Fire of 1666. Post-fire, he became assistant surveyor to the city, where he met Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren.

In 1669, Ogilby published Embassy to China. At the same time, he planned to release atlases that would cover the entire world. These atlases would be funded via subscriptions, advertisements, and lotteries—all common practice at the time, especially for expensive multi-volume works. He released Africa and Atlas Japannensis in 1670, America in 1671 and Atlas Chinensis in 1671, and Asia in 1673. Ogilby compiled the works based on materials produced by others and they reflect a growing interest in the wider world within England.

In 1671, while producing the atlases, Ogilby secured another royal title, that of his Majesty’s cosmographer. He used this title when publishing Britannia in 1675, his best-known work. The Britannia is best described as a road atlas; it shows 2519 miles of road in 100 strip maps. This technique would be widely adopted in the subsequent century. His method of measuring with a waywiser, a large wheel, also helped to standardize the distance of the English mile at 1760 yards. The Britannia was a major achievement in early English cartography and was republished in 1698, 1719, and 1720.