Click here to skip to content

Americae, sive quartae orbis partis, 1562

This is the earliest surviving large-scale, engraved wall map of the New World. Only two complete copies are known, in the Library of Congress and in the British Library. It is presumably the work of Diego Gutierrez el moço [the Younger] (1540-c.1570) rather than his father of the same name, who died in 1554. Both were Cosmographers to the Casa de Contratación in Seville.

Map of America

D. Gutiero, Americae, sive quartae orbis partis, nova et exactissima descriptio, Antwerp, 1562, Maps.*69810.(18.) Roll. Copyright © The British Library Board

Enlarge

A high-quality version of this image can be purchased from British Library Images Online. For more information email imagesonline@bl.uk

Why was the map made?

This map was not intended to assist navigators at sea, but has to be seen essentially as an officially commissioned instrument of propaganda whose main purpose is to magnify Hapsburg claims.

It follows the tradition of the encyclopaedic medieval world maps that contain historical, anthropological, ethnographical and zoological as well as purely geographical information.

The depiction of the Americas is dominated by the image of winged Victory (victoria) holding the arms of Philip II (left) and of Margaret of Parma, the regent of the Netherlands (right), giving the impression that Philip ruled all the discovered areas of America.

Contact

Americas Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7743
Fax: +44 (0)20 412 7563

E-mail: americas@bl.uk