One of the earliest obtainable maps of the New World – Terra Nova.

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This influential map by Laurent Fries shows an early (and surprisingly accurate) configuration of North and South America between approximately the St. Lawrence River and Rio de la Plata. It’s based on an earlier (1513) map by Martin Waldseemuller, colloquially known as the Admiral’s Map because Waldseemuller attributed the source of his information to “the Admiral” in the accompanying text. This is generally taken to mean Christopher Columbus, who is duly credited as the rightful discoverer in the text above Terra Nova.

It’s worth noting here that Waldseemuller may have included the note about Columbus in an attempt to correct a previous error – in his 1507 map, Waldseemuller was the first to use the name “America,” crediting Vespucci. Though he attempted to give Columbus his just due in later productions (like the 1513 map), the name stuck and would henforth be known as America. Fries kept this text in his version, but added the vignettes of cannibalism and a possum, which were reported by Vespucci in his travels.

Other updates between the Waldseemuller and Fries maps include the changing of Terra Incognita to Terra Nova, the addition of the Spanish flag above the island of Hispaniola (Queen Isabella island), and Parias, a name given by Columbus and misplaced in North America.

This map is the third of four states issued by Fries; 1522 (Strasbourg), 1525 (Strasbourg, 1535 (Lyons) and 1541 (Vienne). The last two editions were published by the German theologian Michal Servetus, who was burned at the stake for heresy during the Protestant Reformation. John Calvin ordered the destruction of all works by Servetus, including the book in which this map was originally published.

Burden, P. D. (1996). The mapping of North America. Rickmansworth, Herts, England: Raleigh Publications.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1535

Author: Laurent Fries

Sheet Width (in): 21.25

Sheet Height (in): 15.20

Condition: A-

Condition Description:  Slight fading along the centerfold from the binding strip and two pieces of archival tape on the verso where the map was previously matted. Two pinholes in the extreme outer edge along the bottom center. A bold black & white impression on thick, watermarked paper with full margins. French text and title block on verso.


1 in stock