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Maps of the Caribbean

Early maps of the Caribbean, formerly known as the West Indies, tend to be as romantic as the Caribbean itself. Ornamented with strange fish, floating clouds, and sailing vessels, these maps document the voyages of explorers into the unknown tropics.

Italian artist Baptista Boazio created a series of engravings to highlight the narrative of Sir Francis Drake’s voyage through West India circa 1588. The map showing West India alongside the continent of Africa is replete with a massive tropical fish swimming away from the coast of West India and a Viking-style ship hovering off the eastern coast. The map of Santo Domingo shows a gigantic reptile and a sea monster lurking in the waters while the English fleet waits to attack the town. The figure of a sphinx lounges on top of the compass rose.

Theodor de Bry’s 1594 map of the Caribbean, Florida, and Central and South America is one of the most famous Caribbean maps from this period. The map is drawn in elaborate detail with sea monsters, galleons, coats of arms, and ornate title cartouches. Willem Blaeu’s rendition of Bermuda from 1630 shows the island divided into tribes, with a cartouche of the sea god Neptune riding the Royal Arms. Later maps of the Caribbean by mapmakers Joannes Jansson, Johannis Van Keulen, and the Ottens family are high quality antique maps, if more restrained in decoration.


Quick Facts

  • "A New Map of the English Empire in the Ocean of America or West Indies" by John Senex sold for $773 at a Christie’s auction in 2010
  • A 1794 T. Jeffreys hand-colored map of Jamaica sold for $1,625 at a Sotheby’s auction in 2004
  • A Theodor de Bry map with disproportionately-large Caribbean islands illustrating the journey of Girolamo Benzoni from 1541 to 1556 sold for $4,500 at Old World Auctions in 2005

Recommended Items at Auction

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MAP, Cuba & Jamaica, Wytfliet
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Cuba & Jamaica, Wytfliet
by Old World Auctions
Est: $800- $950
$6001 Bid
MAP, Hispaniola, Mallet
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Hispaniola, Mallet
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Est: $150- $180
$1101 Bid
MAP, Hispaniola, Tardieu
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Hispaniola, Tardieu
by Old World Auctions
Est: $160- $190
$901 Bid
MAP, Hispaniola, Ruscelli
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Hispaniola, Ruscelli
by Old World Auctions
Est: $240- $300
$1801 Bid
MAP, Jamaica, Zatta
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Jamaica, Zatta
by Old World Auctions
Est: $140- $170
$1000 Bids
MAP, St. Kitts, Chatelain
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, St. Kitts, Chatelain
by Old World Auctions
Est: $100- $130
$550 Bids
MAP, Jamaica, Mount & Page
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Jamaica, Mount & Page
by Old World Auctions
Est: $350- $425
$1900 Bids
MAP, St. Martin, Montanus
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, St. Martin, Montanus
by Old World Auctions
Est: $200- $230
$1500 Bids
MAP, Lesser Antilles, Chatelain
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Lesser Antilles, Chatelain
by Old World Auctions
Est: $200- $230
$1100 Bids
MAP, Barbados, Bellin
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Barbados, Bellin
by Old World Auctions
Est: $500- $650
$3000 Bids
MAP, Jamaica, Moll
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Jamaica, Moll
by Old World Auctions
Est: $275- $350
$1500 Bids
MAP, Lesser Antilles, Goos
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Lesser Antilles, Goos
by Old World Auctions
Est: $800- $950
$6000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Maps of the Caribbean


Old World Auctions

Old World Auctions