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415-Year Old Swedish Atlas Stolen from Royal Library Recovered


A rare Swedish atlas has at last been returned to its rightful owner.

The 415-year old Wytfliet Atlas was shown to the public by the U.S. and Swedish authorities on Wednesday.

The rare atlas was stolen a decade ago by Anders Burius from Royal Library of Sweden.  It is part of the 56 rare books stolen by the former chief librarian.  The atlas has been in the library for more than 300 years before it got in the hands of Burius.

Burius was arrested in 2004, and during a temporary release committed suicide.

According to authorities, the Wytfliet Atlas was created by Cornelius van Wytfliet.  Its importance is beyond compare as it is one of the earliest maps of the Americas.  The map is also part of the important materials being used the rulers of Sweden, according to Greger Bergvall, the library’s map librarian.

“It’s important because it’s the only copy of the Wytfliet Atlas in Sweden,” said Bergvall.

On the other hand, authorities are still continuing their investigation of the 55 other books that are still missing that may land in an auction house or in the black market.  It includes a copy of philosopher Thomas Hobbe’s “Leviathan” which dates back to 1651.

Photo credit: Mary Altaffer / AP

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