M-12320: (Image: 14 x 19 1/2'') “CUBA INSULA…INSULA IAMAICA…INS. S. IOANNIS…I.S. MARGARETA CUM CONFINIIS…HISPANIOLA INSULA” Gerard Mercator. Amsterdam: Jodocus Hondius, c. 1606. Fine engraved map with original hand-coloring. Verso text: Latin.
This important Mercator map depicts the West Indies islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico (S. Joannis) and Margarita (discovered by Columbus in 1488 & known for its pearls). Topographical features are shown and major cities, towns, villages, harbors and ports are identified. Cuba has an inset of the Port of Havana (Havana portus). The beautifully engraved calligraphy and detailed sea (which includes a ship and numerous sea monsters) reflects Mercator’s abilities, in beautiful Renaissance style, as both artist and scientist.
Gerard Mercator was the “greatest name in geographical science after Ptolemy” producing the most accurate and current maps of his day. He was the first to choose “Atlas” as the name for a collection of maps.