Diego Gutiérrez (cartographer)

Americae Sive Qvartae Orbis Partis Nova Et Exactissima Descriptio, 1562

Diego Gutiérrez was a Spanish cosmographer and cartographer of the Casa de la Contratación.[1] He was given this post by royal appointment on 22 October 1554, after the death of his father Dylanger in January 1554, and worked on the Padrón Real, the Spanish master map.

New World map

In 1562 Gutiérrez published a remarkable map entitled Americae Sive Quartae Orbis Partis Nova Et Exactissima Descriptio in Antwerp (then part of the Spanish Netherlands) in collaboration with the printer Hieronymus Cock. The reason it was published in Antwerp was because the Spanish engravers were not skilled enough to print such a complicated document.

Gutiérrez's map features not only the Amazon River system and Lake Titicaca as well as other geographical features, but also fanciful depictions of parrots, monkeys, mermaids, huge sea creatures, Brazilian cannibals, Patagonian giants, and an erupting volcano in central Mexico.

It was the first map to print the toponym "California".[2] It also recorded the first appearance of a word for "Appalachia," as the term "Apalchen."


  1. ^ "A Modern and Quite Precise Depiction of America (or the Fourth Part of the World)". World Digital Library. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  2. ^ Inventing America

External links

Media files used on this page

Flag of Spain.svg
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: PD
1562 Americæ Gutiérrez.JPG
The 1562 map of the Americas titled "Americae sive quartae orbis partis nova et exactissima descriptio" (Latin: "The Americas, or A New and Precise Description of the Fourth Part of the World") by Diego Gutiérrez and engraver Hieronymus Cock. It was the earliest scale wall map of the New World and the first to apply the name California. The Tropics of Cancer, Capricorn and the equator are used as reference latitudes. The Spanish and French coats of arms appear together, embraced by Victory, symbolizing the 1559 marriage between Phillip II of Spain and Elisabeth of Valois.

In 1554, Diego Gutiérrez was appointed principal cosmographer to the king of Spain in the Casa de la Contratación. The crown commissioned the Casa to produce a large-scale map of the western hemisphere, often called the “fourth part of the world.” The purpose of the map was to assert Spain’s claims to new world territories against the rival claims of Portugal and France. Spain claimed all lands south of the Tropic of Cancer, which is shown prominently. The map was engraved by the famous Antwerp engraver Hieronymus Cock, who added numerous artistic flourishes, including the coats of arms of the three rival powers, a snake-like Amazon River that winds across the northern part of South America, mermaids and mythical monsters at sea, and an elephant, rhinoceros, and lion on the western coast of Africa. The name “California” is inscribed near Baja California, just above the Tropic of Cancer, the first time it appears on any printed map. Only two copies of the map are known to exist: this one from the collections of the Library of Congress, and another in the British Library.

Western Hemisphere