Sixteenth century map of Africa by the Italian engraver Giovanni Battista Mazza

By MAZZA, Giovanni Battista, 1589 

Africa ex Magnae Orbis Terrae Descriptione.

Africa Continent of Africa
  • Author: MAZZA, Giovanni Battista
  • Publication place: [Venice]
  • Publisher: Donati Rascicotti formis.
  • Publication date: c1589
  • Physical description: Engraved map, fine original hand-colour, some wear to the plate.
  • Dimensions: 335 by 460mm (13.25 by 18 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 16238


Extremely rare separately published map Africa by the Venetian engraver Govanni Battista Mazza.

The map geography is heavily influenced by Ortelius’s map of 1570, which in turn followed the cartography of Gastaldi’s seminal eight sheet wall map of Africa.

The map was published as part of a set of the four continents. Although none of the extant examples bear a date; a date of circa 1589 has been convincingly suggested for the map of America by Suarez and Casten in their 1995 article published in issue 70 of The Map Collector.

Little is known about Giovanni Battista Mazza an engraver working in Venice at the end of the sixteenth century. He is known to have engraved a magnificent world map for Giuseppe Rosaccio in 1597, and the present map is part of a set of the four continents.

Rare, we are only able to trace two institutional examples: Bern University Library; Chicago Newberry Library; and one in a Private American Collection.


  1. Betz 25.
    • Betz, R. (2007). The mapping of Africa. Houten: HES.

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