OGILBY, John (1600-1676). Nova Mexico. London: Printed by T. Johnson for the Author, 1671.
Single sheet, (15 ½ x 22 ½ inches). Fine engraved birds-eye view of Mexico City (lower right corner renewed, old central fold, evenly browned).
THE FIRST PUBLISHED VIEW TO IDENTIFY TENOCHTITLAN AS MEXICO CITY (“NOVA MEXICO”)
First English edition, first published in Amsterdam the same year. This highly detailed panoramic view, showing every street and building, is one of the most important 17th-century views of Mexico City. After the Aztec city Tenochtitlan was destroyed during the 1521 siege by Cortes, the Spanish built Mexico City atop the ruins, fashioning it after a traditional Spanish city. “The Montanus view, immediately republished by Ogilby, had many defects, but it succeeded in transforming Tenochtitlan into Mexico City: a Christian city of Spanish design. The lake still appeared, set off by fantastical mountains, palm trees, Indians and blacks – elements intended to evoke the exotic, somewhat paradisiacal ambience that Europeans, starting with Columbus, associated with America, and those which enterprising Dutch publishers in the later seventeenth century used to ‘market’ America to Europe at large” (Richard L. Kagan et al., “Urban Images of the Hispanic World, 1493-1793, p. 91).