HERRERA Y TORDESILLAS, Antonio de (1559-1625). Novus orbis sive description Indiae occidentalis. Translated from Spanish into Latin by Gaspar Barlaeus. Amsterdam: Michel Colin, 1622.
Four parts in one, 2o (351 x 228 mm). Engraved title within woodcut border decorated with the Castilian arms, six Aztec gods and Mexican scenes, including a cartouche at bottom with image of North and South America, portrait of Jacob Le Maire, five engravings in text in Le Maire's section, 16 double-page maps and one folding map on two sheets joined into one (first map with some restoration along central fold.) (Effaced inscription on title with a few associated splits to paper, some occasional pale spotting.) Modern calf antique. Provenance: Louvain, Catholic University (ink stamp on *2v);
THE FIRST COMPLETE ACCOUNT OF THE LE MAIRE-SCHOUTEN EXPEDITION AROUND THE WORLD, THE FIRST TO SUCCESSFULLY ROUND CAPE HORN
FIRST EDITION IN LATIN. Originally published in Spanish in Madrid, 1601 with fourteen maps, Michel Colin issued Latin, French and Dutch editions simultaneously in 1622, each of which had the same engravings, adding three not in the first. The composition of the editions varies somewhat, as in the case of the portrait of Le Maire which is often absent and is not listed on the binder's index on the verso of the title-page, but which is present here. The work was reprinted in Frankfurt in 1623 by the heirs of Theodore de Bry in the twelfth part of the Great Voyages and also by his archrival Levinus Hulsius's heirs. These editions were both issued with reduced versions of the plates.
The first two parts of the book concentrate on knowledge of the New World and include very fine maps of Central and South America, with those on the Pacific coast adding a great deal of new geographical knowledge. Of primary importance, however, is the second part containing the description of the great Dutch navigator Jacob Le Maire's voyage in search of Terra Australis in 1615-17. Le Maire (1585-1616) was the son of the merchant Isaac Le Maire whose arguments with his fellow directors of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) precipitated his split from them. Seeking to break the VOC's monopoly, he formed his own commercial enterprise and conceived of this voyage, establishing his son as its commander.
Jacob Le Maire sailed aboard the Eendracht captained by Willem Cornelis Schouten. They were accompanied by Jan Cornelis Schouten (Willem's brother) who commanded the Hoorn. The passage through the Lemaire Strait and the rounding of Patagonia via Cape Horn would impact future navigation in manifold ways, but principally in dispelling the idea of an imaginary Southland. The Le Maire voyage was the last of the seventeenth century expeditions to search for the unknown continent from the east, and made extensive discoveries in the Pacific. New Guinea was finally proved to be an isolated island, and not part of a great continent extending to the east. The view of the archipelago, unchanged since 1545, was thus completely altered. After nearly two years at sea, during which great gains in geographic knowledge were established, Le Maire died at Mauritius. Schouten had been sent back to Holland by the governor of the Dutch East India Company, who viewed their presence in the East Indies as infringement of their monopoly. Schouten's passage of two years and twenty-three days set a new record for a circumnavigation.
Le Maire's voyage had been inspired in part by Quiros's and was itself to inspire Tasman's great expedition. The book's important series of maps were used by Tasman in his circumnavigations of the 1630s and 40s. Thirteen of the maps depict North, Central and South America while the other four are of the Pacific. The larger-scale folding map shows Le Maire's route through the ocean with details of the Pacific island groups and New Guinea. Three of the engraved views in text show Le Maire's ship the Eendracht at anchor in the Solomon and Cocos Islands. Alden & Landis 622/70; Borba de Moraes I:400; Burden 195-198, 201-206; JCB (3) II:165; Sabin 31540; Wagner Spanish Southwest 12c.