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Antique Maps of North America to 1700

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Ortelius regions of the New World
Abraham Ortelius. "La Florida. Auctore Hieron. Chiaves."/ "Peruviae Aurieferae Regionis Typus. Didaco Mendezio Auctore."/ "Guastecan Reg." From Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp, [1584]. 6 x 8 3/4; 13 x 8 3/4; 6 3/4 x 8 3/4, respectively. Overall 13 x 18. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition. French text on verso.

A three-part map of the New World by Abraham Ortelius, the 'father of modern cartography.' Of particular importance is the first printed map of the American southeast, the fascinating "La Florida," as the southeast was called at the time, stretching along the Atlantic from the Carolinas to the Mexican coast. This map is based on actual information gathered during De Soto's explorations of the area in the early 1540s, and it presents the first printed image of the interior of the American southeast, showing Indian settlements, mountains and waterways discovered by De Soto. The other two maps on the sheet are of present-day Peru (the source of gold and silver for the Spanish) and eastern Mexico. Together, the three maps describe in wonderful detail and decorative form the most significant parts of the New World in the second half of the sixteenth century. They show the source of Spanish gold in three juxtaposed panels that are fit together to convey maximum cartographic information. The maps are the unmistakable work of Abraham Ortelius, considered to be one of the two greatest cartographers of the sixteenth century, and whose Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was the first modern atlas. This printing first appeared in the third supplement to the atlas, the 1584 Additamentum. Containing the earliest printed map of the southeast and with two other maps of regions of central importance to early American history, this is a map of highest interest to the American collector. $2,850

Jansson South East
Jan Jansson. "Virginiae partis australis, et Floridae partis orientalis." Amsterdam: J. Jansson, 1641. 15 x 19 3/4. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition. French text on verso. Cumming: 42.

A beautiful map that is one of the most interesting maps of the American southeast. The map is based upon the Jodocus Hondius' map of the same area-Jansson was Hondius' son-in-law-with some updating. This shows the influence of the Hondius map, and the way his map led to an extensive dissemination of both its correct information and its errors. Hondius's map was a combination of information from two sixteenth century maps, one of the Carolinas, and one of the northern Florida/Georgia region. These were combined, and in the process many errors were introduced, not the least of which was the straightening out of the St. John's River so that it flowed from an non-existent lake located to the northwest of the mouth of the river. This lake, which would become Lake Apalachy, appeared on this and other maps well into the eighteenth century. Jansson's map is updated from the Hondius version, including coats-of-arms to indicate the spheres of influence claimed by the French in the Georgia region and the British in the Carolinas. Jansson follows Hondius in the south, but he more accurately depicts the coast in the Carolinas, based on Hessel Gerritsz's map of 1631, and has a more correct image of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, indicating for the first time "Newport nesa [i.e. News]." This map shines not only in its interesting cartographic history, but also in its decorative appeal. It is a particularly fine example of the aesthetics of 17th-century Dutch cartography. The elegant calligraphy and compass roses combine with the ships in the sea and the rhumb lines in wonderful embellishment. The fully colored title and scale cartouches, the latter which shows naked putti and the former half-naked natives, add a final flourish that makes the map a delight to look at. All in all an historic map that is a very fine decorative example of the great age of Dutch cartography. $2,400

Mortier America
Pierre Mortier. "Carte Nouvelle De L'Amerique Angloise Contenant La Virginie, Mary-Land, Caroline, Pensylvania Nouvelle Iorck, N: Iarsey N: France, et Les Terres Nouvellement Decouerte. Amsterdam: P. Mortier, 1698(?). 23 1/4 x 35 3/4. Engraving. Excellent, original hand color. Excellent condition.

A striking, large sized map of the eastern part of North America, allegedly derived by Mortier from the work of Nicolas Sanson, though there is no evidence other than the title attribution that this geographical conception was ever held by Sanson. This map is wonderful in its illustration of the various geographic misconceptions of the late seventeenth century. Interestingly, it is one of the few maps to show the Mississippi River entering the western end of the Gulf instead in the middle as it actually does. This feature appeared on maps for only about 30 years, the result of a hoax perpetrated by La Salle in an attempt to make a settlement at the mouth of the river look strategically important-in being near to the Spanish ports in Mexico-thus lending added weight to his plan of developing a French Empire along the great North American inland waterways. Also shown are 'Ashley Lake,' the 'Savana,' and the 'Desert Arenosa,' the three notorious errors derived from the reports of John Lederer.

There are myriad other interesting geographic oddities of the period which appear on the map, especially in the mid-west region. The Great Lakes are depicted essentially the same as on the map of 'the English Empire' by Robert Morden, 1695(?), and these two maps are the first to show one of the most mysterious geographic mistakes in the mapping of America, viz. the prominently illustrated mountain range running through the Michigan peninsula and down all the way into Florida. While the connection of the Michigan chain with Florida was soon severed, the mountains in the peninsula appeared on maps even into the nineteenth century. The origin of this chain is still a puzzle that continues to baffle cartographic scholars. All in all, a fascinating document showing the state of 'knowledge' of North America at the end of the seventeenth century. $4,800


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