Insulae Indiae Orientalis
34.0 x 48.0 cms
Spectacular map of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Philippines, with important improvements by Gerard Mercator and Jodocus Hondius. The south coast of Java is uncertain and locates the landfall of Francis Drake in 1578.
New Guinea has a text legend that states that it may be an island or part of a great Southern Continent. A spectacular battle between Dutch and Spanish vessels is shown, believed to refer to the vicious encounter off Manilla Bay in 1600 between Olivier van Noort and Dr. de Morga. The region was the theater of bitter naval battles between the Dutch, the Portuguese, and the Spanish Empire.
Three beautiful cartouches compliment this splendid map. The Moluccas islands are listed, with the remark that they are exporting all over the world a great abundance of fragrant spices. In the lower center is a text referring to Marco Polo's earliest description of these regions. The map has been engraved by Jodocus Hondius the Elder, the best copperplate engraver at the time.
"The map may be considered the most elegant and decorative map of the region, including all of the Indies and the Philippines, extending as far east as New Guinea."
"Jodocus Hondius the Elder, one of the most notable engravers of his time, is known for his work in association with many of the cartographers and publishers prominent at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century.
A native of Flanders, he grew up in Ghent, apprenticed as an instrument and globe maker and map engraver. In 1584, to escape the religious troubles sweeping the Low Countries at that time, he fled to London where he spent some years before finally settling in Amsterdam about 1593. In the London period he came into contact with the leading scientists and geographers of the day and engraved maps in The Mariner's Mirrour, the English edition of Waghenaer's Sea Atlas, as well as others with Pieter van den Keere, his brother-in-law. No doubt his temporary exile in London stood him in good stead, earning him an international reputation, for it could have been no accident that Speed chose Hondius to engrave the plates for the maps in The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine in the years between 1605 and 1610.
In 1604 Hondius bought the plates of Mercator's Atlas which, in spite of its excellence, had not competed successfully with the continuing demand for the Ortelius Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. To meet this competition Hondius added about 40 maps to Mercator's original number and from 1606 published enlarged editions in many languages, still under Mercator's name but with his own name as publisher. These atlases have become known as the Mercator/ Hondius series. The following year the maps were reengraved in miniature form and issued as a pocket Atlas Minor.
After the death of Jodocus Hondius the Elder in 1612, work on the two atlases, folio and miniature, was carried on by his widow and sons, Jodocus II and Henricus, and eventually in conjunction with Jan Jansson in Amsterdam. In all, from 1606 onwards, nearly 50 editions with increasing numbers of maps with texts in the main European languages were printed."
(Moreland and Bannister)