Maps of the Pimeria: Early Cartography of the Southwest, by Jack Mount

16th/17th Century

Corneille Wytfliet. Granata Nova et California. Lovanii, 1597
1597. Corneille Wytfliet. Granata Nova et California. Lovanii, 1597. Colored map 23 x 29 cm. Scale ca. 1:7,500,000. From his Descriptiones Ptolemaicae Augmentum, siue Occidentis Notitia Brevi Commentario, Lovanii, Tijpis Iohannis Bogardi. [G4301 S1 1597 W9]. 1019X800 | 764X600

Based on Mercator-Ortelius information this is the first separately published map of the California region. Wytfliet published the first atlas devoted exclusively to America and this was one of the nineteen maps it contained. This map is an example of a cartographic error long perpetuated by the European mapmakers--the routing of the Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo) del Norte southwest to the Gulf of California rather than southeast to the Gulf of Mexico. The river is shown flowing from a large mythical lake in the New Mexico region with the nearby legend "Septem civitatum Patria". It is surrounded by devices representing seven cities, presumably the "gilded" Seven Cities of Cibola. The Gulf of California is called both "Mar Vermeio" and "Californie Sinus". By the close of the sixteenth century no map of this region still extant can be said to have been made directly from actual exploration and observation.

Wytfliet (d. 1597) was Geography Secretary to the Council of Brabent during the mid-16th century.

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