A rare atlas stolen a decade ago from the Royal Library of Sweden by one of its chief librarians was recovered in New York and given back to its rightful owner.
Swedish and U.S. authorities showed off the 415-year-old Wytfliet Atlas at a news conference Wednesday. The book, created by Cornelius van Wytfliet and containing the earliest maps of the Americas, had been in the Royal Library collection for more than 300 years before it was stolen. There are only eight other copies worldwide, according to the library.
The atlas was one of 56 rare books stolen by Anders Burius, the chief of the Royal Library’s manuscript department, and the first of his haul to be located.
The atlas contains 19 maps, including the first printed map of what was then considered California, correctly depicting a peninsula, Bergvall said. Other ancient maps, he said, portrayed California as an island. The peninsula portion is now Mexico’s Baja California.
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