The earliest known map of Australia and New Zealand drawn by Dutch master cartographer Joan Blaeu in 1659 has sold for a whopping 248,750 pounds at an auction. The 1.17 x 1.59 metres Archipelagi Orientalis was one of two original and unrestored maps by Blaeu discovered in an Italian home. The map, which was the first to name Australia as Nova Hollandia (New Holland) and Novo Zeelandia (New Zealand) was auctioned by Sotheby's in London last week. Though only four copies of Blaeu's map are known to exist, the auctioned map was created even earlier than the copy held by Australia's National Library (1663). On November 24, 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman made the first recorded sighting of the Australian island state of Tasmania, 'New Atlas' reported. As official cartographer of the Dutch East India Company, Bleau had complete access to the closely guarded intellectual properties of the most powerful company in the world. Archipelagi Orientalis includes the first details of Tasman's sighting of Tasmania and the first map of the island's coastline.
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