16th/17th Century

Giacomo Castaldi 1556

1556. Giacomo Gastaldi. Universale Della Parte del Mondo Nuovamenta Ritrovata. Venezia, 1556. Map 30 x 40 cm. Scale ca. 1:48,000,000. From Giovanni Battista Ramusio, Navigationi et Viaggi, volume 3, pp. 455-456. [G3291 S1 1556 G2]. 898X800 | 674X600
Ramusio (1485-1557) was a Venetian publisher who compiled a great collection of voyages and Gastaldi (ca.1500-ca.1565) made a number of the maps which accompany this work. This woodcut of the Western Hemisphere is the first published map to show placenames given by the explorer Francisco Coronado, names such as Axa, Cicuich, Cucho, Quivira and Tiguas. The Coronado expedition wandered through the Southwest in 1540 searching for the "vast riches" mentioned in reports by Cabeza de Vaca and Fr. Marcos de Niza. On this map, as on earlier Gastaldi maps, North America and Asia are joined and Baja California is correctly shown as a peninsula. The Gulf of California is labeled "Mar Vermiglio".


1597. Corneille Wytfliet.

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.


1644. Nicholas Sanson


1644. Nicholas Sanson. Americqve Septentrionale. Paris, Pierre Mariette,1644?. Colored map 20 x 28 cm. Scale ca. 1:25,000,000. From his Cartes Générales de Toutes les Parties du Monde, 1645 edition. [G3301 S1 1644 S2]. 1099X800 | 824X600
Sanson, geographer to the French King, created this curious map of North America combining some new factual information with the older mythical geography . The map is apparently the first to show the location of the Apache Indians and the villages of Santa Fe (he incorrectly located it on the west side of the Rio Grande) and Socorro. This map also carries on the seventeenth century tradition, started in about 1625, of portraying California as an island. The location of the Rio Grande continues to be geographically inaccurate, flowing into the Gulf of California--Sanson's "Mar Vermejo".

Sanson (1600-1667) has been called the founder of the French school of Geography. His business in Paris was continued by his sons Nicholas, Adrian and Guillaume.


1650. Nicholas Sanson

1650. Nicholas Sanson. Ameriqve Septentrionale. Paris, Chez l'Auteur et Chez Pierre Mariette. Colored map 39 x 56 cm. Scale ca. 1:17,000,000. From his Cartes Générales de Toutes les Parties du Monde, 1658 edition. [G3301 S1 1650 S2]. 
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This is a larger scale, more detailed version of Sanson's 1644 map. Additional "real" placenames appear for the first time on a published map. The Native Americans of the Southwest are shown as four tribes, Apaches de Navajo, A. de Peryllos, A. Vaqueros, and A. de Xila; and, this is apparently the first published appearance of the word Navajo. Despite the new factual geographic information, which might lead one to believe that Sanson had seen a map derived from on-the-spot observation, his Rio del Norte still flows from a mythical lake southwesterly into the Gulf of California--his "Mar Vermejo"--and the Island of California conception has been retained.


1696. Vincenzo Coronelli

1696. Vincenzo Coronelli. [Terrestrial Globe Sheet: The American Southwest]. Venice. Colored map on sheet 50 x 37 cm. Scale ca. 1:8,000,000. A globe gore from his Atlante Veneto, 1691-1696. [G4301 S1 1696 C8]. 1069X800 | 802X600

This map is one panel, or gore, used to make a large globe. Coronelli reprinted the plates of his globe gores in Libro dei Globi, one volume in his Atlante Veneto atlas series. No two copies of the atlas were alike, they were made from plates available at the time of the printing. He was the first to print globe gores in atlas form. Coronelli's globes were usually commissioned by royalty, therefore, by printing the globe gores in atlas form, he brought them to a much wider audience.

On this map, as on his 1685 map, the Rio Grande (his Rio Del Norte, also labeled Rio Bravo at the southern end) correctly flows southeast to the Gulf of Mexico. However, California is still shown as an island and the Arizona/Sonora region remains virtually unknown.