Map of the Western Hemisphere

Map of the Western Hemisphere

Original Title: Americae sive Qvartae Orbis Partis Nova et Exactissima Descriptio

(New and Exact Map of America, or Quarter of the World)

Year: 1562

Language: Latin

Creator: Diego Gutiérrez (fl. 1554-1594)

Item Code: 15197

Gutiérrez's map is the largest of the western hemisphere printed in the 16th century. As an employee of the Spanish Casa de Contración (Board of Trade), Gutiérrez most likely made use of the latest geographic data sent back to Spain by the numerous Spanish naval pilots exploring the western hemisphere. Spain's claims to the territory are made clear by the two coats of arms in the cartouche in the upper left corner, representing King Phillip II and his half sister Princess Margarite, as well as the depiction of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain) speeding across the Atlantic in a sea chariot. The map is notable for the high level of geographic detail (including an understanding of the greater Amazon River basin, and the first use of the name California on a map), as well as the many mythical representations, such as cannibals in Brazil, giants in Patagonia, and numerous mermaids and other sea creatures.

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