Recens Edita totius Novi Belgii, in America Septenrionali siti, delineatio cura et sumptibus
By: Tobias Conrad Lotter
Date: 1757 (published) Augsburg, Germany
Dimensions: 22.75 x 19.75 inches ( 58 x 50 cm)
Arguably one of the most recognizable maps of the Northeastern American colonies this fifth state example of Novi Belgii by Tobias Conrad Lotter series does not disappoint with regards to eye-appeal. The map is drawn from Jansson’s map of the northeast from 1651 which was later added to by Nicolas Visscher.
The Cartographic Accuracy of the Map
The map shows colonial boundary lines (added in the third state) separating New England, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It spans then entire northern colonial region Jamestown in the Chesapeake Bay in the south to the border of New England and New France that includes Quebec City in the north. The interior of the continent is still largely unknown and much of the information presented is speculative. A large lake named "Lacus Iroqoisi,"appears just northwest of Boston and in this map offers a clean connection to the St. Lawrence. Follow the Hudson River north of Fort Orange and you will notice a group of mountains as the source. While the mountains are accurate with regards to the location of the Adirondacks, the map lacks any semblance of Lake George or Lake Champlain.
Mapping Indigenous Tribes of Colonial America
The map does accurately locate a large number of English colonial settlements, and offers regional locations of the many indigenous tribes that occupied the region. References to the Mohican, Seneca, Minqua, Wampanoag, Iroquois and many other tribes can be found through the map. Much of this information was of particular importance at the time as European powers were battling over alliances and relationships with the natives to serve their long-term territorial interests as well as foster lucrative relationships for fur trading. For example, in the region where the word "Minquaas" appears was an east-west trail that served as the primary route for fur trading with the Minquas (or Susquehannock) people. During the 17th century, Dutch, Swedish and English settlers all fought one another for control of it.
Decorative Elements of the Map
The rest of the map is filled with forests, mountains, and numerous vignettes of animals. These vignettes served two purposes. They helped convey the natural riches to be exploited by the fur trade and the helped to fill empty spaces within the map, a true enemy of many 17th and 18th century map makers. Lastly, two native communities punctuate the left portion of a map are balanced by a well-placed compass rose in the Atlantic.In the bottom right corner is a view of the city of New York, titled “Neu Jorck sive Neu Amsterdam,” with a key to the vignette just below written in Latin. Crowning this view of the former Dutch colony is an elaborate scene depicting natives and deities presenting food and gifts to King George II.
Condition: Map is in B+ condition with old color on clean paper. The map appears to have been trimmed near the neatline and at some point has margins added. Two breaks in the paper have been reinforced with archival materials on the verso. These formed with the oxidation of old color, a consequence of originality.
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