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Guiana, South America.

Blaeu, Guillaume & Jean. Guiana sive regio Amazonum. "Guiana sive Amazonum Regio." Amsterdam Apud Johannem Guiljelmi F. Blaeu. c1655
Original coloured, copper engraved map of Guiana from volume 2 of Joan Blaeu's "Theatrum Orbis terrarum, sive atlas novus .pars secunda." Double page; folio; Latin text to verso.
Strap work title catouche and scale; compass rose and ships to sea.

Decorative map of the Guianas , Lake Parima (Parime Lacus), and the route to El Dorado.Initially issued in 1630 , variants were published well in to the 1660s. The map covers from Isla Margarita and the Orinoco Delta eastward as far as Tampico and southwards as far as the Amazon River.

This region of South America generated considerable European interest in the early 17th century following the publication of Sir Walter Raleigh's fascinating 'Discovery of the Large, Rich, and Beautiful EMPIRE Of GUIANA .' Raleigh's expedition traveled down the Orinoco River in search of the Kingdom of El Dorado. Today we know that El Dorado did not exist, but was rather an amalgam of very real tribal traditions and the European lust for gold. Nonetheless, in the 16th century, tales of El Dorado were common conversation along the port cities of the Spanish Main. Having explored a considerable distance down the Orinoco, Raleigh's expedition found itself mired in a remote tribal village at the onset of the rainy season. While waiting for an opportunity to return north, a trading delegation arrived. At this time the dominate trading empire in the Amazon were the Manoa, who, though based near modern day Manaus, pursued trade routes to from the foothills of the Andes to the Amazon and Orinoco Deltas. While the rainy season prevented Raleigh from moving forward, for the Manoa it had the opposite effect. The heavy rains inundated the vast Parima flood plain creating a great inland sea, consequently opening an important trade connection between the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers. When the Manoa arrived, Raleigh and his men noticed that they had various golden trinkets for sale. This was apparently enough for Raleigh to deduce that they must indeed be from the hidden kingdom of El Dorado. When Raleigh asked where the traders came from, the locals, with no common language with which to engage Raleigh, could only explain that they traveled across a great water and were from Manoa. Raleigh's presumptuous narrative inspired many early cartographers to map this massive lake, with the city of El Dorado or Manoa on its shores, in the unexplored lands between the Orinoco and Amazon River basins. Bright original outline colour; good impression; damp stain to edges of blank margins, far from image.

Willem Janszoon Blaeu [1571- 1668] had set up the business in Amsterdam 1596 following studies with the famous astonomer Tycho Brahe.
In 1630 Willhem published his first atlas "Atlas Appendix", having published maritime cartography, books, charts and pilot guides for previous thirty years.
Appointed Hydrographer of the V. O. C. ( United East India Company)in 1633 he died in 1638. leaving the company to his sons Joan and Cornelius
Of Cornelius little is know; his name appearing on in the prefaces of books and atlases only until c1645.

Dr Joan Blaeu [ 1596-1673] who had studied at Leiden took over the management of the business and established its fame. He was also appointed Hydrographer to the V. O. C. ( 1638), but his interests leant more to geography than maritime cartography. His aim was" a full description of heaven, earth and water" ( Koeman) which was unachievable. but his work produced the magnificent "Atlas Major" and the Town books of the Netherlands and Italy; works unsurpassed in history and modern times.

The "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum " or "Atlas Novus" Willem Blaeu's great project enlarging the "Appendix" was advertised in 1634, was first published in a preliminary edition in 1635. (preface dated 10-3-1634) two volumes.
The final edition comprising again two volumes with 109 & 99 maps respectively with German text also published 1635; an edition with Dutch text, (preface dated 22-4-1635) 104 & 103 maps; French text( preface dated 1-7-1635) 105 & 103 maps; and with Latin text (preface dated "ipsis Aprillis")105 & 102 maps.

In 1640, after Willem's death a Third volume with French text and comprising 58 maps of Italy and 8 of Greece, was published; later the same year an edition was produced with Latin text.
Still in 1640, variant editions in both languages were issued with an appendix of 4 maps of the British Isles as a precursor to the Fourth volume, which would be a complete description thereof.

In 1645 the Fourth volume, "Le Theatre du Monde ou Nouvel Atlas, Mis en lumiere par Guillaume et Jean Bleau. Quartiesme Partie." with a dedication to " A la serinissme Princesse Henriette-Marie Reine de la Grande Bretagne, France & Yrlande." was published; preface dated 1 October 1645.
This volume consisted of 58 maps with description of all the British Isles.

The "Atlas Novus" was eventually extended to six volumes with the addition of a fifth volume, Scotland in 1654 and the following year a sixth the "Atlas Sinensis"of Martini.

Joan Blaeu recognised that the wealthy patrons who would buy such an atlas were primarily concerned with display, thus aesthetic considerations were emphasised: the quality of the paper, binding, beautiful typography and bright colour, making maps from the Blaeu printing house amongst the most decorative of their time.

Blaeu eventually updated and extended the "Theatrum" producing the "Atlas Major" in various formats from 9-12 volumes
Koeman1, Bl 24C. 376 by 494mm (14¾ by 19½ inches).   ref: 3112  €400

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