By: Willem Janszoon Blaeu
Date: 1640 (published) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 15.5 x 20 inches (39.4 x 50.8 cm)
An important and early colonial era map of the Dutch and English colonies of northeast America by the renowned 17th century map maker, Willem Janszoon Blaeu. The map is derived from a manuscript map of the same area by Dutchman Adriaen Block, and from data accumulated by him and other early fur traders and explorers.
Block, an explorer, fur trader and entrepreneur, made four voyages to this region of North America soon after the exploratory voyages of Henry Hudson. His focus was the coastal region between Cape Cod and Manhattan. During his voyages he investigated a number of the estuaries in the area for the Dutch, who were interested in establishing trading posts in the Hudson River area. Block’s business acumen resulted in success in the fur trade and his powers of observation and talent in describing what he saw provided material for countless maps and accounts of the New World.
The map is oriented west and covers territory from as far north as Quebec to Virginia in the south. It is remarkably accurate, especially considering the limitations imposed by the instruments available for navigation and surveying in the early seventeenth century. The details of the coastline and various areas in the interior indicate exploration and discoveries of which there is relatively little other pictorial evidence dating to that period.
Indigenous peoples are named throughout the map, and two large, well-fortified villages are depicted in the upper right quadrant. Two canoes styled from hollowed out tree trunks are manned by indigenous crews, and three European vessels are represented at full sail. Wildlife abounds, and the luxurious depiction of flora and fauna makes this one of the most attractive decorative maps of this region of its time. Various species embellish the map including deer, beavers and otters, foxes and bears, egrets, cranes and turkeys.
The map is a beautiful cartographic representation of accumulated knowledge of the era, and the verso provides additional information in text form.
Condition: Map is in fine condition. A horizontal fold has resulted in some separations at the edge of either margin and in the center of the map. All separations have been repaired on the verso and the map has been cleaned for conservation purposes.
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