With a glimpse of the great south continent

By ORTELIUS, Abraham, 1598 

Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus

Asia Southeast Asia
  • Author: ORTELIUS, Abraham
  • Publication place: [Antwerp
  • Publisher: Christopher Plantin
  • Publication date: 1598].
  • Physical description: Engraved map, French text on verso.
  • Dimensions: 450 by 560mm. (17.75 by 22 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 17587


First published in 1570, Ortelius’s map is one of the earliest European maps of Southeast Asia, and affords a glimpse of the vast southern continent with the inclusion of the peninsula of Beach, pars continentis Australis”. This is a mis-transcription of the land Marco Polo called Lucach”, or Locach”. Upper right, the Pacific Northwest coast of America appears.
The geography is based on Gerard Mercator’s 1569 world map. In the Sunda Islands, Sumatra and Java are oversized; in the Philippines Luzon is omitted. The mythical city of Quivira is marked on the coast of California. In the sea to the south of America, a ship is being attacked by two whales, causing its cargo of barrels to float away. Two mermaids, taken from Diego Gutierrez’s map of America, frolic below. The Portuguese coat of arms appears at the upper left corner, reflecting Portuguese supremacy in the region. 


  1. Koeman/​Meurer: 48
  2. Karrow: 1/68, vdKrogtAN: 8400:31
  3. van den Broecke Ort 166.