Limes Occidentis Quiuira et Anian


One of the earliest maps to focus on the Pacific Northwest.

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This map is one of two covering the West Coast that was originally included in the first printed atlas to focus exclusively on the Americas. Limes Occidentis Quiuia Et Anian was first published in Louvain in 1597 as part of Cornelius Wyfliet’s Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum and is primarily based on Cornelius de Jodes’ Quivirae Regnu from four years earlier.

This is a later issue, printed around 1607, as identified by the missing date in the title cartouche. The content shows a fascinating variety of mythical and substantiated place names, though the geographic accuracy of the latter category is suspect at best. Notable examples are the boldly labeled regions of Quivira and Anian.

Quivira Regnum refers to the legendary Seven Cities of Gold, the discovery of which was a motivating factor behind Coronado’s epic expedition across Mexico and the American Southwest from 1540-1542. Though Coronado and his men came up empty-handed, various toponyms related to the myth would persist on early maps of North America well into the 17th century.

Not far away can be found the Kingdom of Anian (Anian Regnum), a land which originated with the travels of Marco Polo. Thought to be the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam, contemporary ignorance of Southeast Asia’s geography has led to its transposition to the west coast of America. Just north, above the Arctic Circle, can be seen a tantalizing representation of the Northwest Passage. Pictorial elements highlight mountain ranges and forests, but these, too, are likely speculative.

Not everything depicted on the map is mythical, however, and numerous toponyms such as Hermosa Bay, Cape Mendocino, and Cape Blanco possibly reflect early iterations of their modern counterparts. Even so, their presence could also be coincidental and conjectural, since the region would not accurately be charted by Europeans for almost another 200 years!

Sources; Burden #107, Wagner #189, Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers.

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1607

Author: Cornelius Wytfliet

Sheet Width (in): 13.60

Sheet Height (in): 11.80

Condition: A-

Condition Description: A light rust spot in the lower right corner is the only visible defect within the neatline, though there is light scattered soiling and a few spots confined to the margins. Very good to near fine overall.


1 in stock