1640 Aethiopia Superior vel Interior vulgo Abissinorum sive Presbiteri Joannis Imperium

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By: Willem Janszoon Blaeu

Date: 1640 (circa) Amsterdam

Dimensions: 15.25 x 19.75 inches (38.7 x 50.1 cm)

This is an authentic antique map of central and eastern Africa including Mozambique north to present day Sudan. The map was published by Willem Blaeu out of Amsterdam, circa 1640.

This map is based on Ortelius' map of Prester John of 1573. Prester John was believed to be a Christian king of enormous power and splendor. The legend first appeared in the 1100's with his kingdom believed to be in Asia, but as the area was further explored, the location of this mythical kingdom moved to the Middle East and eventually present day Ethiopia. This legend persisted for centuries. When Vasco de Gama went on his voyage from Mozambique north in the 1400's, he heard that "Preste Johan" ruled the interior.

Two Ptolemaic lakes, Zair and Zaflan are shown in the southern portion of the map as being the main source of the Nile. Lake Niger is shown as the source of the Niger River, flowing westward. The map contains numerous coastal place names such as Mozambique Island, Quiloa, Mombaza, and Melinde indicating the importance of the area to both Arab and Portuguese traders and explorers from other countries. As with many of Blaeu’s maps, this map is decorated with numerous animal vignettes. Often times such vignettes were used in blank areas of the map to distract from geographical ignorance.

Condition: Map is in B condition with a lower centerfold separation extending 1 cm into the map that has been repaired on the verso. Some damp staining is confined within wide margins

Inventory #18957

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