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Seminal mid-17th century map of North America in original color

Place/Date: Amsterdam / ca. 1647
$4,800.
Title: America Septentrionalis
Dimensions
46.8 x 55.5 cm (18.5 x 21.75 in)
Identifier
NL-00047
Coloring
Old color
Condition Rating
VG+

Description

This captivating map was the first Dutch atlas map of North America, and the first Dutch atlas map to depict California as an island. The island follows the shape of California and nomenclature found on the 1625 map of Henry Briggs, with a nearly flat top and C. Blanco as the northernmost point. Burden states that Hondius’s map had a “greater influence than any other to date in perpetuating the theory of California as an island. This was because it was disseminated through the medium of his powerful Dutch publishing house. None of the earlier California as an island maps had reached such a wide audience.”

The detail in the Southeast follows Hondius’s earlier map of Virginia and Florida. The map depicts no single Mississippi River, but rather a network of many rivers emptying into the Gulf.

Only a single Great Lake, called Lac des Iroquois, is shown. Dutch names dot the Atlantic coast of Labrador, a reflection of increased Dutch whaling activities in this area at this time.

The map is embellished with illustrations of native fauna, including buffalo, caribou, Arctic foxes, polar bears, and more.

This is the second state of the map, with the imprint of Jan Janssonius in the cartouche at lower left. Latin text and the signature mark Bbb on the verso give the issue date a range from 1647-58.

Condition Description

Coloring bright, a lovely example. Tiny pinholes at corners affecting margins only, one small, repaired old color split visible on the verso, and minor wear along centerfold.

References

Burden 245; Goss Map 30; Koeman Vol. II, p.397, no. 486; Leighly 13; McLaughlin 6; Tooley p.113; Wheat Transmississippi 45; Wa-NWC 339.

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