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Striking birds-eye view of Angra on Terceira in the Azores, based on a view published in Jan Huygen van Linschoten's Itinerario. The map was first reproduced by Johann Theodore de Bry in 1601 to illustrate the account of Van Linschoten's travels in De Bry's Minor Voyages. The Azores were first discovered in 1439 by Prince Henry the Navigator, and were initially colonized by the Portuguese. Their strategic location played an invaluable role in the expansion of the Portugese empire, and they served as an important port of call for Portuguese vessels traveling to South America, Africa, and the Orient. The layout and fortification of the city are carefully recorded in this detailed plan, as is the abundant farmland. Great attention is paid to the placement and fortification of the harbor, which would have been one of the most important assets of this trade route island. Located in between a shallow sandy outcrop and the fort of San Sabastian, the harbor is well from both treacherous weather and invading ships. This view appeared in John Ogilby's America: Being the Latest, and Most Accurate Description of the New World, published in London in 1671. Ogilby drew heavily from the work of Arnoldus Montanus, but added a significant amount of new material.

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.