The History Center uses exhibits, both on-site and on-line, to showcase some of our vast collections of documents and photographs.
Imagining Texas: An Historical Journey With Maps
Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598)
Americae Sive Novie Orbis Nova Descriptio
Engraving, hand-colored, 14 x 19.5 in. (Antwerp: Abraham Ortelius, 1570).
The translated title of this landmark 1570 map is “America or the New World, Newly Described.” Produced in Antwerp by map collector-businessman Abraham Ortelius, it is one of fifty-three maps he published that year in a single book entitled, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (“Theater of the World”), which is considered the first modern atlas. The book used copper engravings, which greatly increased the detail and delicacy of lettering over the earlier woodcut process.
Ortelius’ 1570 map of America is derived from maps made by the great Dutch scientific cartographer Gerhard Mercator. Many of the place names throughout North America reflected the recent Spanish explorations by Coronado, De Soto, Moscoso and others, but they could not be located with any precision. Yet many other characteristics, such as the delineation of the Gulf of Mexico, appeared exceptionally accurate for the time.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division Digital ID: g3200m gct00003