This reprint is made from the National Library of Vienna's complete, colored, gold-heightened copy, thus assuring the best possible detail and quality.
The books introduction, by the University of Utrecht's Peter van der Krogt, discusses the historical and cultural context and significance of the atlas; Krogt also provides detailed descriptions of the maps, allowing modern readers to fully appreciate Blaeu's masterwork.
Three and a half centuries before Google Maps there was Joan Blaeu's Atlas Maior, the finest and most comprehensive baroque atlas completed in 1665. The original 11-volume Latin edition, containing 536 maps, put Blaeu ahead of his staunch competitor, mapmaker Johannes Janssonius, whose rivalry inspired Blaeu to produce a grandiose edition of the largest and most complete atlas to date. Covering Arctica, Europe, Africa, Asia, and America, Blaeu's Atlas Maior was a remarkable achievement and remains to this day one of history's finest examples of mapmaking.