The space depicted in this folio, primarily the coasts of the eastern Pacific Ocean, the “South Sea”, extends from Central America and the Gulf of Mexico to the central coast of Chile. The large regions bear only three names: “New Spain”, to the north, “Peru”, in its broadest sense of the northwest region of South America and “New World”, along the Amazon valley, encompassing the most unknown territories of the subcontinent.
Reflecting the pre-colonial and colonial urban world, the main cities portrayed include: Quito, “Cosco” (Cuzco), “Lvna de los Reis” and “Ciodad de los Reis” (Lima). The toponyms along the coasts are concentrated north of the Equator, where colonisation was also more intense and spaces were more familiar. Possession of this large chunk of the continent is affirmed by the three shields bearing the coat of arms of Castile/Aragon.
João Carlos Garcia
Faculdade de Letras, Universidade do Porto
(Fragment of the Universal Atlas of Fernão Vaz Dourado commentary volume)