ROUND CAPE HORN

Description des Indes Occidentales, qu’on appelle aujourdhuy le nouveau monde ... translatee d’Espagnol en François. A la quelle sont adjoustees quelques autres descriptions des mesmes pays, avec la navigation du vaillant capitaine de mer Jaques le Maire, et de plusieurs autres.

Amsterdam, Michel Colin, 1622.

Folio, pp. [8], 103, [7], 107-254, [2, blank]; with engraved title and 5 engraved illustrations, bound without the portrait of Le Maire and the 17 maps; engraved initials, head- and tail-pieces; light damp staining to title and first quire; very good in contemporary stiff vellum, paper label to spine, green cloth ties; a few wormholes to joints and hinges, some staining to covers.

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Description des Indes Occidentales, qu’on appelle aujourdhuy le nouveau monde ... translatee d’Espagnol en François. A la quelle sont adjoustees quelques autres descriptions des mesmes pays, avec la navigation du vaillant capitaine de mer Jaques le Maire, et de plusieurs autres.

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First edition in French of Herrera’s description of Spanish conquests in the New World (first published in 1601 as an introduction to his famous Décadas), together with the first authorised publication of Jacques Le Maire’s journal of his epic voyage of 1615-16, during which he discovered Cape Horn (pp. 107-174).

Backed by his father Isaac – who had founded the Australische Compagnie in 1614 to break the monopoly of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) on trade routes to the East Indies – Jacob Le Maire (1585-1616) sailed for South America from Holland in 1615 with Willem Cornelis Schouten aboard the Eendracht. In January 2016 the expedition passed through the strait that was soon to bear Le Maire’s name, and sighted, named, and rounded Cape Horn for the first time. Sailing north into the Pacific, Le Maire made several important discoveries, including the Hoorn Islands, the eastern coast of New Ireland, and the island of New Hanover. After arriving at Batavia in October 1616, Le Maire was accused of infringing the monopoly of the VOC and sent back to Holland. He died at Mauritius on the homeward journey, while Schouten’s safe return in July 1617 set a new record for a circumnavigation. Isaac subsequently sued the VOC for the return of his son’s journal and initially tried to keep the results of the expedition secret in the hope that the Le Maire Strait might be used exclusively by his own company’s ships.

The engraved title to Herrera’s Description features various Aztec gods and a map of the Americas showing California as an island. Le Maire’s Navigation australe is illustrated with five attractive engravings, including views of Cocos Island and the Hoorn Islands. This edition ‘concludes with the Spanish and English voyages to Magellan’s Straits and the descriptions of America given by Ordoñez de Cevallos and Bertius’ (Sabin).

Borba de Moraes I, p. 400; Sabin 31543; Wagner 12a.

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