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Cornelis de Jode
Quivirae Regnu


Audio Tour: About de Jode

This is the first map devoted exclusively to the west and northwest coasts of North America and comes from Cornelis de Jode’s atlas entitled Speculum Orbis Terrae. Having been issued in only one edition of the atlas, this map is extremely rare.3

The title, Qviviræ Regnv, means Kingdom of Quivira. The city of Quivira is positioned on the banks of a river situated below Cape Mendocino and above C. de San Francisco. The map is beautifully decorated with imaginative drawings of buffaloes, natives in their tents, an Asian ship suggesting trade with the Orient, and two sea monsters. The Strait of Anian, separating the two continents, is prominent, as is the Northwest Passage. The implication is, of course, that if one could find a route from Europe to the Kingdom of Quivira, preferably via the Northwest Passage, the Quivirans would point the way to the western route to Asia and thus the spice monopolies of Portugal and Spain could be broken. This notion inspired much European exploration of North America and, in particular, influenced Louis XIV of France, who commissioned several attempts to find the Northwest Passage and who also instructed the comte de Frontenac to proceed overland to Quivira after founding a city (New Orleans) at the mouth of the Mississippi.

3. Burden, Mapping of America, 106.