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One of Willem Janzsoon Blaeu's Earliest Maps -- First Printed Map of the Iberian Peninsula To Include City Views

Blaeu's map of the Iberian Peninsula is one of his earliest broadsheet maps.  First published in 1605; this is the first state with the 'Janssonius' imprint.  The first map Blaeu published was in 1604 of the Seventeen Provinces and was followed by single sheet maps of various European countries in 1605.

Blaeu's map is also one of the earliest printed broadsheet maps to include city views. Blaeu's map of the Low Countries of1604 was the first Dutch map to include town views. On his map of Spain, 4 views and national costume have been added.  This costumed couple and the depictions of Seville and Lisbon are found as well in the borders of Blaeu's double-hemisphere wall map of the world, which was also published in 1605.

This is also the first printed map of Spain & Portugal in which borders with views of cities are introduced (Toledo, Valladolid, Seville and Lisbon) and the first map to show nobles adorned with noble clothes of the time. Above the view of Lisbon, Philip II's coat of arms supported by a lion and what appears to be a ram.  

The present example includes early manuscript annotations in a French hand.


The map is very rare on the market. We note 2 examples at auction and none in printed dealer catalogs in the past 40 years.

Schilder MCN IV, 6.1; Carmen Manso Porto, España en mapas antiguos. Catálogo de la colección Rodríguez Torres-Ayuso, p 29 (2021)
Willem Janszoon Blaeu Biography

Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) was a prominent Dutch geographer and publisher. Born the son of a herring merchant, Blaeu chose not fish but mathematics and astronomy for his focus. He studied with the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, with whom he honed his instrument and globe making skills. Blaeu set up shop in Amsterdam, where he sold instruments and globes, published maps, and edited the works of intellectuals like Descartes and Hugo Grotius. In 1635, he released his atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, sive, Atlas novus.

Willem died in 1638. He had two sons, Cornelis (1610-1648) and Joan (1596-1673). Joan trained as a lawyer, but joined his father’s business rather than practice. After his father’s death, the brothers took over their father’s shop and Joan took on his work as hydrographer to the Dutch East India Company. Later in life, Joan would modify and greatly expand his father’s Atlas novus, eventually releasing his masterpiece, the Atlas maior, between 1662 and 1672.