New England The most remarqueable parts thus named by the high and mighty Prince Charles, nowe King of great Britaine. Observed and described by Captayn John Smith.
By: John Smith
Date: 1616 / 1635 (published) London
Original Size: 12 x 14 inches (30.5 x 35.5 cm)
This is a spectacular reproduction of the most important early maps of New England - 'the foundation map of New England cartography, the one that gave [New England] its name and the first devoted to the region' (Burden 187). Following a number of questionable exploits and escapades in early adulthood, including piracy, Smith assumed a rather more serious approach to life in 1606 when he returned to London after having served as a slave in Constantinople, and became involved with the Virginia Company of London's plan to colonize Virginia for profit. The company had been granted a charter to do so by King James.
The expedition set sale with three small ships on 20 December 1606, and landed in Virginia in April 1607. During the voyage, Smith was charged with mutiny and sentenced to death by the captain of the expedition, Christopher Newport. Smith was spared as on landing at what is now Cape Henry, the unsealed orders from the Virginia Company were opened, and it was learnt that Smith had been designated to be one of the leaders of the new colony.
Following a period of rest from his Virginia expeditions, Smith was employed by a group of London merchants to explore the coastline north of Virginia, and was to return with a profitable cargo. Smith soon recognized the unreliable state of the existing cartography of the region based on the six or seven maps of the area in his possession. He noted that each was unlike the other, that they did not resemble the land they were purported to describe, that in fact they were of so little good that they were 'so much waste paper'.
Smith set about surveying and constructing a proper map of the region. On his return to England in December 1615, Smith had the map published along with his A Description of New England, in June 1616. A legend on the map indicates that much of the nomenclature was provided by Charles, Prince of Wales, the future Charles I. Several place-names are still in use such as Cape Anne, Charles River, and Plymouth. The map includes a portrait of Smith done by the Dutch engraver Simon de Passe, who engraved the map.
Inventory # 81012