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The Earliest Printed Map of Le Maire's Voyage Around Cape Horn and Across The Pacific

Nice example of Joris van Spilbergen's rendering of Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire's map / sea chart of a portion of his circumnavigation of the world, showing the route of his voyage including the rounding of Cape Horn, then across the Pacific to New Guinea, published in Amsterdam in 1619.

The chart shows Le Maire's route from around Cape Horn, the first expedition to locate an alternative route around the tip of South America, which would come to become known for a time as Le Maire's Strait and later Cape Horn.  After sailing north to the island of Juan Fernandes, the expedition island hopped its way to the New Guinea, being the first Europeans to visit a number of the islands along the way.

The inset map shows details of the expedition's transit south of the Straits of Magellan via the Fretum Le Maire, and the route of the expedition along the coast of New Guinea and Islands to the west.

Van Spilbergen's mapping of the voyage of Schouten & Le Maire's route would be the first to publication, appearing in Spilbergen's account of his circumnavigation between 1614 and 1617.  Because Spilbergen's account of his expedition (which included details he learned from Le Maire while the pair spent time together on the return voyage to Europe) was published first, it holds primacy for the first printed map to depict the discoveries.

Le Maire & Schoten

Jacob le Maire (1585-1616) was a Dutch mariner who circumnavigated the earth in 1615-1616 with Willem Cornelisz Schouten (1567-1625), a navigator for the Dutch East India Company. The pair were the first to sail the Cape Horn route to the Pacific Ocean.

In 1615, Willem Cornelisz Schouten and Jacob le Maire sailed from Texel in the Netherlands, in command of an expedition sponsored by Isaac Le Maire and his Australische Compagnie, in equal shares with Schouten. One of the reasons for the voyage was to search for Terra Australis, which eluded them. A further objective was to evade the trade restrictions of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), by finding a new route to the Pacific and the Spice Islands.

In January 1616, they rounded Cape Horn, which Schouten named for his birthplace, the Dutch city of Hoorn and proceeded west. After failing to moor at the Juan Fernández Islands in early March, the ships crossed the Pacific in a fairly straight line, visiting several of the Tuamotus. Between April 21 and April 24, 1616, they were the first Westerners to visit the Northern Tonga islands: "Cocos Island" (Tafahi), "Traitors Island" (Niuatoputapu), and "Island of Good Hope" (Niuafo'ou). On April 28 they discovered the Hoorn Islands (Futuna and Alofi). They then followed the north coasts of New Ireland and New Guinea and visited adjacent islands, including, on July 24, 1616, what became known as the Schouten Islands.

They reached the Northern Moluccas in August and finally Ternate, the headquarters of the VOC, on September 12, 1616. Here they were enthusiastically welcomed by Governor-General Laurens Reael, admiral Steven Verhagen, and the governor of Ambon, Jasper Jansz.

They sailed on to Java and reached Batavia on October 28, 1616. Although they had opened an unknown route, Jan Pietersz Coen of the VOC claimed infringement of its monopoly of trade to the Spice Islands. Le Maire and Schouten were arrested and their ship was confiscated. After being released, they returned from Batavia to Amsterdam in the company of Joris van Spilbergen, who had circumnavigated from 1614 to 1617.

Le Maire was aboard the ship Amsterdam on this journey home, but he died en route. Van Spilbergen was at his deathbed and took Le Maire's report of his trip, which he included in his book Mirror of the East and West Indies. The rest of the crew arrived in the Netherlands on July 1, 1617. Jacob's father Isaac challenged the confiscation and the conclusion of the VOC, but it took him until 1622 until a court ruled in his favor. He was awarded 64,000 pounds and retrieved his son's diaries (which he then published as well), and his company was allowed trade via the newly discovered route. Unfortunately, by then, the Dutch West Indies Company had claimed the same waters.

Condition Description
Minor discoloration at fold.