c 1642 "Tabvla Magellanica..." Tierra Del Fuego - Blaeu


“TABVLA MAGELLANICA…” Amsterdam:  Willem J. Blaeu, c. 1642.  Beautifully engraved map with later hand-coloring.  Verso text: German.  (Image: 16 ¼ x 21 1/8’’) 

The title roughly translates to “Map of Magellanica and Tierra del Fuego with the celebrated Strait of Le Maire newly detected and accurately described”.  At the right of the map is the Le Maire Strait, which at the time of its discovery was thought to separate Tierra del Fuego from the Great Southern Continent of Antarctica. This was an exciting discovery because it provided a new route to the Pacific that avoided the treacherous Straits of Magellan  (subject to unpredictable wind and currents) and proved Tierra del Fuego was an island, not part of the continent.

Largely unexplored, the archipelago's main island (labeled as Magellanica) is mostly blank, with a few descriptive topographical drawings along the coastlines.

In addition to decorative cartouches, the map also features an elaborate coat of arms, below which Blaeu has dedicated the map to the Dutch statesman Sir Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687).

At left beneath the ships is a diagram of the region's latitude, to the right of which stand three giant adults and one child: perhaps the giants that many Europeans believed to inhabit the Patagonia region up through the 18th century.

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory# M-14237