Early Facsimile of the Kuntsmann II Portolan from the Collection of Edward Luther Stevenson.
Fascinating early facsimile of the Kunstmann II map, one of the earliest maps of any kind to show the new world. The map is sometimes attributed to Amerigo Vespucci, though the authorship remains uncertain.
The map shows the exploration of the new world that were undertaken by Miguel Corte-Real and Amerigo Vespucci in 1501-1502. Greenland, Newfoundland, and Labrador are shown. Cuba and Hispaniola are rendered as large islands. The coastline of South America from San Lorenzo on the Gulf of Maracaibo to the mouth of the Orinoco is also shown. The coastline from Cape San Roque to Rio Cananea follow the information gathered on Vespucci's 1501-1502 voyage.
The map has long been seen as one of the most important cartographic documents for the early Americas and thus was included in F. Kunstmann's Atlas zur Entdeckungsgeschichte Amerikas (1859), plate 2, from which its common name is derived.
The original map is now held in the BSB.
Edward Luther Stevenson was among the most important scholars of early cartography active at the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. He was responsible for numerous cartobibliographic books, including the first translation of Ptolemy to English, as well as a series of impressive facsimile maps produced while he was at the Hispanic Society of New York. Dr. Stevenson viewed facsimiles as integral to the study of early cartography, and he committed himself to building an unparalleled collection of photographs of early maps and globes. Much of his collection was donated to Yale University after his death (click on the title link above for about that), but the present item comes from a large collection of photos, manuscripts, and related material that were part of Stevenson's library, but were not donated to Yale. It is truly an impressive collection and many of the items, though reproductions, have serious antiquarian merit. As Alexander O. Vietor said about Stevenson collection that went to Yale "this is the stuff of which great libraries are made."