Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio, Mercator, c. 1633 north pole map friesland map Iceland maps

Mapmaker: Mercator

(North Pole) Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio

c. 1633

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  • Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio, Mercator, c. 1633

    This is the first map to focus on the mysteries of the North Pole. Mercator first
    hinted at the subject on his famous world map of 1569, showing an inset of the
    area, but this map addresses it head on. While no exploration had occurred
    throughout most of these northern reaches, great and detailed speculations were
    conceived. Here, four large islands are divided by rivers, with a large black rock at
    the center of the north pole. This was a supposed magnetic island surrounded by a
    giant whirlpool.
    In between Greenland and Iceland is the ficticious island of Frisland, perhaps
    derived Zeno's map of 1558 which noted Frisland as its own island, and it carried
    on from there. Three surrounding inset maps show the Faeroe Isles, Shetland
    Island and the non-existent island of Friesland.
    Condition is good with some minor centerfold repairs, the original green hand
    color has darkened. Some marginal staining. Image size is approximately 15.5 x 14.5 (inches)