Estotilandia et Laboratoris Terra
CORNELIUS WYTFLIET, Published 1597
A fine example of Wytfliet’s depiction of the Labrador coast including the mythical Estotilandt, the Davis Strait, Greenland, Iceland and the imaginary island of “Frislant”. It is, in fact, one of the first maps to draw heavily upon the discoveries of Martin Frobisher and John Davis who sailed these Northern waters in search for Northwest passage to Asia. As such, the depiction is a composite of both the mystical Northern lands imagined or described by ancient lore and an attempt to reconcile some of the recent discoveries. It is noteworthy that these fictitious places, such as Estotilandt and Frislant, first described in detail by the Nicolo Zeno’s map of the North Atlantic in 1558, would continue to inspire some of the greatest cartographers of 16th Century when depicting the Arctic region. That being said, this rare map also demonstrates the difficulties that cartographers had in drawing a true account of the newly discovered lands. Forbisseri Angvstiae (Forbisher’s Strait) is wrongly located below Greenland as opposed to its actual location depicted on this map at L.Lumleÿs, north of A furious over fall, the location of the Hudson Strait.
This rare map was published in Wytfliet’s Descriptions Ptolemaicae augmentum, siue Occidentis notitia breui commentario,1597. This landmark work has been described as the first atlas specifically dedicated to the Americas. Wytfliet’s Descriptions Ptolemaicae was published as an adjunct to the Ptolemic world view which was, until the discovery of the new world, limited to Asia, Europe and Africa.
(Sources: Kershaw #40, Burden #101)