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Rare John Wolfe map of Africa, based upon Filiippo Pigafetta's important early map of Africa, from an English edition of Linschoten's Itinerario, published in London.

Filippo Pigafetta's map of Africa was based on the explorations of Duarte Lopes, a Portuguese whose voyages to the Congo Basin added to the speculation about the source of the Nile. Upon Lopes' return to Europe, he went to Rome to make a report to Pope Sixtus V and met Pigafetta who compiled the information and published Relatione del reame di Congo in 1591.

Rather than following the Ptolemaic convention of twin sources in the Mountains of the Moon, Pigafetta depicts the two lakes in series, with the upper lake also being the source of the Congo.

The map provides a marvelous, if highly fanciful image of the interior of Africa, with elaborate topographical details and numerous ships and sea monsters off of Africa's coastlines.

Wolfe's map is an entirely new plate, with significant changes from Linschoten's map of the prior year. The cartouche, coat of arms and embellishments in the upper right corner are completely changed, with Wolfe placing the key identifying approximately 40 places within the map in the upper part of the map. In the bottom right corner, Wolfe includes an additional coat of arms with the inscription "Iln'est Rose Sans Espine" (There is no rose without a thorn). The very large sea monster at the bottom right corner is also unique to the Wolfe edition.

Wolfe's map is much rarer than the Linschoten, with only one dealer catalogue appearance in AMPR in the past 30 years (Suarez, 1994).

Condition Description
Minor discoloration along old fold lines.
Betz, pp. 34-35; Norwich #23.