New Discoveries in the North Pacific
- Alternate Title:
- Nuove Scoperte de' Russi al Nord del Mare del sud sí nell' Asia, che nell'America
- New Discoveries in the North Pacific
- Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection
- Zatta, Antonio, active 1757-1797
- Posted Date:
- ID Number:
- Collection Number:
- File Name:
- Before 1800
- 31 x 40 (centimeters, height x width)
- In the Spring of 1708, the London magazine "Monthly Miscellany or Memoirs for the Curious" published a letter from Bartholomew de Fonte, the “then Admiral of New Spain and Peru, and now Prince of Chile,” describing the author's discovery of a Northwest passage from Hudson's Bay to the Pacific. "This apocryphal account is now attributed to the editor or owner of the London magazine, James Petiver. There is no reliable evidence to authenticate either the existence of de Fonte himself or of the voyage." Ireland, Willard E. Fonte, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/fonte_bartholomew_de_1E.html, accessed November 23, 2014.
As Michael Buehler has put it, "This supposed letter was ignored for decades until revived [in the mid-18th century] as a principle argument for the existence of the Northwest Passage." https://bostonraremaps.com/inventory/drage-northwest-passage-1768/, accessed December 30, 2020. De Fonte's fictitious discovery was embraced and detailed by Joseph-Nicolas Delisle in his landmark "Carte des Nouvelles Découvertes au Nord de la Mer du Sud" (1750) and thereafter by a number of distinguished mapmakers.
In fact, this map by the Italian Antonio Zatta includes at least two other fictitious western discoveries: those of "Cap. Cluny Inglese" in the far northwest and Baron Lahontan's "Long River" from the Mississippi through the Rockies to the Pacific (here the "Grand River Flowing to the West"). And it locates with precision - at what appears to be Vancouver - the site of the mythical 5th century "Fou-Sang Colonia del Chinesi." See Suarez 2004, 26-27.Dominating the map is a fanciful cartouche of an island populated by animals entirely foreign to the north Pacific: a crocodile, an elephant, a baby rhinoceros and an ostrich!
For another example, see ID #2067, "A General Map of the Discoveries of Admiral de Fonte & others By M. De l'Isle" (1754).
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- Zatta, Antonio. 1775-85. Atlante novissimo, illustrato ed accresciuto sulle osservazioni, escoperte fatte dai piú celebri e piú recenti geografi, che ora per la prima volta si produce. Venice: Presso Antonio Zatta,
- Cite As:
- P.J. Mode collection of persuasive cartography, #8548. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
- Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
- Archival Collection:
- P.J. Mode collection of persuasive cartography
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