“Limes Occidentis Quivira et Anian, 1597.”
In Descriptionis Ptolemaicae augmentum. Louvain, 1598.
“Granata Nova et California.
In Descriptionis Ptolemaicae augmentum. Louvain, 1603.
CORNELIUS WYFLIET was a Flemish cartographer. His atlas Descriptionis Ptolemaicae augmentum, published in Louvain, Belgium, in 1597 as a supplement to Ptolemy’s Geographia, was the first atlas devoted exclusively to the New World. The atlas contains nineteen regional maps of the Americas, including the two listed above. It also provides information on the discovery of the New World and on the geography and natural history of North and South America.

The McGregor Collection has two copies of the atlas: one a 1598 edition and the other a 1603 edition. The two maps together depict the West coast of North America. The coast of upper California runs almost due west until it reaches Cape Mendocino (“C. Medocino”—). Wytfliet represents “Septem civitatem Patria”——the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola—which inspired Francisco Vásquez de Coronado’s expedition in search of gold in 1540-42, as a cluster of cities around a lake which is connected to the Gulf of California by a river. The map designates Cibola (“Cevola”—) as a separate city. On the other map, “Quivira”— appears too far west. Finally, like many other maps of the period, a world map in Wytfliet’s atlas depicts the Straits of Anian connecting to the fabled Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean.

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