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The Straits of Magellan, Tierra de Fuego. and Le Maire Strait.

Blaeu, Guillaume & Jean. Fretum Magallanicum. Fretum Le Maire. "Tabula Magellanica, quâ Tierræ del fuego, cum celeberrimis fretis F. Magellano at I. Le Maire detectis novissima et acuratissima descriptio exhibetur." Amsterdam Apud Johannem Guiljelmi F. Blaeu. c1655
Original coloured, copper engraved map of Magellanica from volume 2 of Joan Blaeu's "Theatrum Orbis terrarum, sive atlas novus .pars secunda." Double page; folio; Latin text to verso.
3 strap work catouches for title, scale and key; coat of arms and dedication to Constantino Hugenio (Constantijn Huygens, the secretary of the two Princes of Orange, Frederick Henry and William II);; fleet of ships and compass roses to sea.

Ferdinand Magellan discovered and explored the sea route between the mainland of South America and Tierra del Fuego during his circumnavigation of the globe. The natural passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean is named today Strait of Magellan. Magellan himself died during this journey on 27 April 1521 in the Philippines.
The map bears Willem Blaeu's signature but was published by his son Joan.

The map shows the results of the expeditions of Willem Cornelisz Schouten and Jacob Le Maire (1615-1617), who discovered Cape Horn, and those of the Nassau fleet under admiral Jacques l'Heremite and vice-admiral Gheen Huygen Schapenham (1623-1626). "Lheremitens eylandt" and "Schapenhams bay" are named after these two expedition leaders. Bright original outline colour; good impression; fairly extensive damp stain to edges of blank margins, just touching 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. 375 by 478mm (14¾ by 18¾ inches).   ref: 3115  €600

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