About antique maps of Central & Latin America
Central and South America offer some of the most dramatic scenery in the world. Since its conquest by the Spanish, there have been increasing numbers of prints and maps of this beautiful region.
Claudius Ptolomy’s Geographia, written around AD 150, a record of geographic knowledge of the Roman Empire, was used by Christopher Columbus in his westward-bound path to Asia, in which he discovered the hitherto unknown Western Hemisphere in 1492. In 1519 Ferdinand Magellan managed to cross the Atlantic and navigate through the straits at the southern point of South America which were later named after him, and sailed on into the Pacific in search of the Spice islands.
Central America was inhabited by the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica, the better known being the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas. The Spanish and Portuguese interest in Southern and Central America led to early mapping. The first printed maps of South America were wood-cut in the 16th century. However due to the secrecy of the Spanish, divulging information on maps, charts or ships’ logs could be punished by death. It was not until Alexander von Humboldt Journeys of the Orinoco and Amazon in 1800 that maps of the region became more available. Maps of countries of Central and South America were published by many Cartographers.
Strait of Magellan, 1787, with plans of principle ports, or “Detroit de Magellan, avec les Plans des principaux Ports, Bayes & de ce Detriot” in its original French. Copperplate engraving by M. Bonne, Hydrographer, engraved by Andre, 1787 is an example
Antoine Francois Prevost (1697-1763) a Benedictine priest known as Abbe Prevost, contributed to the Histoire General des Voyages,1747. Acapulca and Santa-Fe are illustration by Jacob van der Schley.