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Showing Routes of Important Explorers Around and Through the Straits of Magelland and Cape Horn

Nice example of Guillaume De L'Isle's map of the Southern part of South America.

The map shows the routes of the a number of 17th Century Explorers in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as a marvelous and highly annotated description of South America. The following voyages are noted:

  • Amerigo Vespucci (1502) -- one of the very few maps to locate his tracks
  • Ferdinand Magellan (1520) -- first circumnavigation of the World
  • Pedro Sarmiento (1589) -- Spanish commander of the Pacific Fleet, who was captured several times by English Pirates and taken to England
  • Brower (1642-43) --Established Staaten Island was not part of the Unknown Southern Continent
  • Sir Edmund Halley (1698-1700) -- noting Icebergs
  • Anthony de la Roche (1675) -- Discovery of South Georgia Island and the re-discovery of Gough Island.
  • Bartholemew Sharp (1681) -- English Pirate who became the first Englishman to sail around Cape Horn from west to East

De L'Isle was known for his fine scientific mapping style, restricting the cartographic content of his maps to what he deemed to be reliable reports and eliminating speculative information. Through a meticulous process of comparing the reports from multiple sources, he was able to reconcile diverse data to create the best maps of the period.

Guillaume De L'Isle Biography

Guillaume De L'Isle (1675-1726) is probably the greatest figure in French cartography. Having learned geography from his father Claude, by the age of eight or nine he could draw maps to demonstrate ancient history.  He studied mathematics and astronomy under Cassini, from whom he received a superb grounding in scientific cartography—the hallmark of his work. His first atlas was published in ca. 1700. In 1702 he was elected a member of the Academie Royale des Sciences and in 1718 he became Premier Geographe du Roi

De L'Isle's work was important as marking a transition from the maps of the Dutch school, which were highly decorative and artistically-orientated, to a more scientific approach. He reduced the importance given to the decorative elements in maps, and emphasized the scientific base on which they were constructed. His maps of the newly explored parts of the world reflect the most up-to-date information available and did not contain fanciful detail in the absence of solid information. It can be fairly said that he was truly the father of the modern school of cartography at the commercial level. 

De L’Isle also played a prominent part in the recalculation of latitude and longitude, based on the most recent celestial observations. His major contribution was in collating and incorporating this latitudinal and longitudinal information in his maps, setting a new standard of accuracy, quickly followed by many of his contemporaries. Guillaume De L’Isle’s work was widely copied by other mapmakers of the period, including Chatelain, Covens & Mortier, and Albrizzi.