Fine example of Pierre Mortier's map of the Pacific, which appeared in later editions of the famous Neptune Francois
This fine map of the Pacific was drawn from previously unpublished manuscript maps collected by the Portuguese crown and secreted away in Portuguese archives. The map shows the entirety of the Pacific Ocean with rhumb lines for navigation, although the atlas was more useful as a prestige piece showing wealth.
The map shows California as an island with an indented northern coast using the information from Luke Foxe's map of the region. There are bays on the northern coast, an array of islands in the Mer Vermeio, and the large Agabela de Gato peninsula shown in the Pacific Northwest (although it is less pronounced than on other maps). To the north is the Detroit d'Anian, thought to be the Northwest Passage.
In the South Pacific, the map shows a large-format treatment of the east coast of New Zealand and a fine early account of the known coastlines of northern Australia and New Guinea, which are practically touching. To the south is Antoni van Diemens Land with approximately eleven place names.
In the northeast of the map is a relatively accurate outline of Japan, as compared to other contemporary maps. North of Japan is a large landmass labeled as Terre d'Eso ou Yedso. This island is on many eighteenth-century maps. Historically, Eso (Yedso, Yesso) refers to the island of Hokkaido. It varies from a small island to a near-continent sized mass that stretches from Asia to Alaska.
Overall, the map is unadorned and conservative. The author chose not to include other geographic chimeras of the day, such as a southern continent or Compagnie's Land. It is a beautifully simple rendition of a vast sea.
Its simplicity made it appropriate as a navigational aid, which is why it was integrated into the expansion of the most famous sea atlas of the seventeenth century, the Neptune Francois. As published in Amsterdam, this third part of the work, Suite du Neptune Francois, ou Atlas Nouveau des Cartes Marines, contained maps prepared for the king of Portugal. Pierre, or Pieter, Mortier (1661-1711) was a Dutch engraver, son of a French refugee. In 1690 he was granted a privilege to publish French maps in Dutch lands. In 1693 he released the first and accompanying volume of the Neptune Francois. The third, with the Pacific map, followed in 1700.
Pierre, or Pieter, Mortier (1661-1711) was a Dutch engraver, son of a French refugee. He was born in Leiden. In 1690 he was granted a privilege to publish French maps in Dutch lands. In 1693 he released the first and accompanying volume of the Neptune Francois. The third followed in 1700. His son, Cornelis (1699-1783), would partner with Johannes Covens I, creating one of the most important map publishing companies of the eighteenth century.