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Stock# 68090

This is the first complete (and official) account of the Le Maire-Schouten expedition around the world, the first to successfully round Cape Horn, and the first edition in Latin of Herrera y Tordesillas's Descripcion de las Indias Occidentales, expanding significantly the Madrid edition of 1601.

The first part of the work focuses on discoveries in the New World and is illustrated by famous maps of regions in North and South America. These maps, Burden numbers 196-198 and 201-206, are so faithfully taken from the 1601 work, that they are not corrected for discoveries reported elsewhere in the book (namely, Tierra Del Fuego is still not shown as an island despite that being the principal discovery of the Le Maire-Schouten expedition).

Interestingly, the most important map in the book might not be the ones from the main body of the work but instead from the additional engraved title-page with its inset map of the Americas (Burden 195). Of the title page, Burden says:

This small map's chief claim to fame is in being the first map to delineate California as an island. It is a legend on the Henry Briggs map of 1625 that informs us of the probable source of this geographical anomaly. It is a map taken from a Spanish vessel by the Dutch, and is assumed to be that accompanying Friar Antonio de la Ascension 's written account of October 1620 intended for the Council of the Indies and the King of Spain. 

In it he presents his firm belief in California as an island. The map does not survive but Briggs mentions in 1622 having seen in London a Dutch map showing such an island. The publisher of this expanded edition of Herrera's work, Michiel Colijn. gives no explanation for its use. He even includes a peninsular California in the general map of the same work. The origins of the myth go back further in history. Polk write s extensively about this period.

The second part contains the description of Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schoten's circumnavigation of the globe on the Eendracht and Amsterdam in 1615-1616.

The third part, Descriptio Indiae Occidentalis, is by Pedro Ordonez de Ceballos, and the fourth part, Brevis ac Succinta Americanae, is by Petrus Bertius.

The Latin edition of 1622 was published the same year as Dutch and French editions, though the engraved title page is the same Latin-text one in all editions of that year and one may conclude that this edition was published first.


Henry N. Stephens (inscription on endpaper dated 21 August 1884, recording the price £1.10); A.H. Bright (armorial bookplate).

Condition Description
Folio. 19th-century ¼ diced red morocco over marbled boards. 4 parts in 1 volume. Engraved additional title with the first map of California as an Island, 17 double-page or folding maps, 5 engraved plates. *4 (including title and additional engraved title), A-L4, M, half-title (Ephemerides sive Descriptio Navigationis Australis...), (⁂), M2-M4, N-X4, a-c2, † (Brevis ac Succincta Americae...)-††4, †††3. (Lacks final blank †††4, light toning, occasional light dampstaining, letterpress title slightly soiled with small chips to corners).
European Americana 622/70; Wagner Spanish Southwest 12C; Sabin 31540; Borba de Moraes I: 400; JCB Vol. II, pages 165-166; Kroepelien 561; Schilder 'Australia Unveiled' pages 32-36; Burden, 195-198 and 201-206.