A New Description of Carolina.


Cartographer(s): John Speed
Date: 1676
Place: London
Dimensions: 53 x 40 cm (20.75 x 15.75 in)
Condition Rating: VG

In stock

SKU: NL-01702 Category:

A beautiful example of Speed’s notable mapping of the interior of Carolina.


A fine example of John Speed’s 1676 map of the English Province of Carolina, taking in the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Florida. In addition to the well-mapped coastline, it represents an early attempt to depict the interior of the colony. 

The map is oriented towards the west, with north at right. In addition to European settlements along the coast (including the “lost colony” of Roanoke), it notes Native American villages in considerable detail. Rivers, mountains, forests, and other features are noted throughout the interior. The verso includes text on the history, geography, climate, and other characteristics of Carolina and Florida.

Speed relied on John Ogilby’s similarly titled “A New Description of Carolina, by Order of the Lords Proprietors” (commonly known as the “Lords Proprietors’ Map”), published only two years prior. Ogilby’s map, in turn, was based on descriptions of the interior by German-born explorer John Lederer, descriptions which in some cases turned out to be apocryphal, highly exaggerated, or at least based on misunderstandings, the explanation for “Deserta Arenosa,” “Ashley Lake,” and a savannah just below the Blue Ridge Mountains seen here. Lederer’s travels are noted with a path from ‘the Falls’ (of the James River) at right, traveling southwesterly towards Ashley Lake and then returning by a route further to the east.

This map was engraved by Francis Lamb and appeared in John Speed’s A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, published in 1676, a supplement to his earlier work The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain. It is independently cataloged by roughly fifteen institutions in the OCLC.


John Speed

John Speed was a 17th century English cartographer and historian who left a long-standing legacy.

Condition Description

Minor repairs to chipping along the edges. Later, period correct color.