The first map to focus on “Australia”
By DE JODE, Gerard and DE JODE, Cornelis, 1593
Novae Guinea; Quivirae Regnu[m], cum alijs versus Borea[lem]
- Author: DE JODE, Gerard and DE JODE, Cornelis
- Publication place: Antwerp
- Publisher: Arnold Corunx for the widow & heirs of Gerard de Jode
- Publication date: 1593.
- Physical description: Two engraved maps on a double-page mapsheet.
- Dimensions: 140 by 220mm (5.5 by 8.75 inches).
- Inventory reference: 12884
The second map is Cornelius’ of northern Australia and New Guinea, Novae Guineae Forma & Situs, decorated with the most beautifully ornamented dragons and lizards: “This region is even today almost unknown, because after the first and second voyages all have avoid from sailing thither so that it is doubtful even until today whether it is a continent or an island. The sailors called this region New Guinea because its coasts, state and conditions are similar in many respects to the African Guinea. Andreas Cosalius seems to call it Peccinacolij. After this region the huge Australian land follows which — as soon as it is once known — will represent a fifth continent, so vast and immense is it deemed. In the east the Solomon Islands join up, in the north the S. Lazarus Archipelago; it takes its beginning at two or three degrees south of the equator. In the west it is, if not an island, connected up with the Australian continent.” (De Jode, verso of the map).
The map is, according to the title, intended as a map of New Guinea, though it includes the coast of Terra Australis, and is thus often considered, if only poetically so, the first map to focus on “Australia”. It also provides a close focus of the new-discovered Solomon Islands, whose mapping was influential for the entire ocean. Further north, the map includes islands, principally in Micronesia, that were discovered by Spanish explorers in the earlier sixteenth century. New Guinea is correctly depicted as an island, though this was likely from guesswork rather than empirical data. Since the Solomon Islands, though seemingly of little importance today, were a principal impetus for Pacific exploration for two centuries, de Jode’s maiden close focus on them is of interest. Discovered in the course of a 1567–68 voyage from Peru by Alvaro de Mendafia y Neyra, they were entwined with the search for a southern continent and forcibly endowed with qualities befitting their name, a name that was selected for them before their discovery. They were then ‘lost’, and for two centuries were sought by numerous navigators, plotted in widely disparate I meridians, and argued over by theorists. Yet when finally they were rediscovered in the eighteenth century, the explorers who did so did not recognize them as being Mendafia’s lost isles until French geographers solved the puzzle and further expeditions confined the identity.
- Burden 82.
- Burden, Philip. (2007). The mapping of North America. Rickmansworth: Raleigh Publications.