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One of the earliest World Atlases published in England

Full Title: 

Historia Mundi: or Mercator's Atlas. Containing his Cosmographicall Description of the Fabricke and Figure of the World... with new Mappes and Tables; By the studious industry of Iodocus Hondy. Englished by W.[ye] S.[altonstall].

London: printed by T. Cotes for Michael Sparke and Samuel Cartwright, 1637. 2°. Engraved additional title, 182 maps by Hondius, R. Hall, Peter van der Keere and J. van Loon.   

Second English edition, with the engraved title dated 1637. 141 of the maps are from Hondius's Atlas Minor, the remainder appear to have been engraved for the present work. 'The buyer should be careful to secure a copy of the second issue with the rare map of Virginia.' A change of owners took place two years after the first publication, and the fronticepiece.  Hall Virginia and Smith Virginia are not present in this copy, as usual.

Second edition in English, translated from the Mercator Hondius 1607 Atlas Minor by Wye Saltonstall. With engraved decorative title page dated 1637 that is filled with allegorical female figures, geographers measuring the globe within an architectural surrounding, and additional title page from the first edition, dated 1635, with the imprint: Printed by T. Cotes for Michael Sparke and Samuel Cartwright.

The atlas is in 1032 pages, includes frontispiece "Englished by W.S.," dedications signed by Wye Saltonstall. Also includes preface, notes, 26 pages of tables, index, illustrations, diagrams, portrait, 930 pages of text and 184 maps.


Jodocus Hondius Biography

Jodocus Hondius the Elder (1563-1612), or Joost de Hondt, was one of the most prominent geographers and engravers of his time. His work did much to establish Amsterdam as the center of cartographic publishing in the seventeenth century. Born in Wakken but raised in Ghent, the young Jodocus worked as an engraver, instrument maker, and globe maker.

Hondius moved to London in 1584, fleeing religious persecution in Flanders. There, he worked for Richard Hakluyt and Edward Wright, among others. Hondius also engraved the globe gores for Emery Molyneux’s pair of globes in 1592; Wright plotted the coastlines. His engraving and nautical painting skills introduced him to an elite group of geographic knowledge seekers and producers, including the navigators Drake, Thomas Cavendish, and Walter Raleigh, as well as engravers like Theodor De Bry and Augustine Ryther. This network gave Hondius access to manuscript charts and descriptions which he then translated into engraved maps.

In 1593 Hondius returned to Amsterdam, where he lived for the rest of his life. Hondius worked in partnership with Cornelis Claesz, a publisher, and maintained his ties to contacts in Europe and England. For example, from 1605 to 1610, Hondius engraved the plates for John Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine.

One of Hondius’ most successful commercial ventures was the reprinting of Mercator’s atlas. When he acquired the Mercator plates, he added 36 maps, many engraved by him, and released the atlas under Mercator’s name, helping to solidify Mercator’s reputation posthumously. Hondius died in 1612, at only 48 years of age, after which time his son of the same name and another son, Henricus, took over the business, including the reissuing of the Mercator atlas. After 1633, Hondius the Elder’s son-in-law, Johannes Janssonius, was also listed as a co-publisher for the atlas.