Original Size: 13.5 x 19 inches (34.3 cm x 48.3 cm)
This map is an exceptional reproduction of one of the most important maps of the New World. It is the most influential map of Southeastern North America in the 17th century, and the first to depict Virginia and Florida.
Hondius’ map covers from the Spanish colony of St. Augustine to the north, past the Outer Bank of the Carolineas all the way to Chesapeake Bay. Hondius’ map is a synthesis of two maps of the previous century, the Le Moyne of Florida and the White map of Virginia and Carolina, both published by Theodore de Bry. Though the map contains a number of errors, its influence was significant. One obvious error is the jutting horizontal projection which places Carolina and the Outer Banks too far to the east. The error occurred in earlier maps and is related to difficulties experiences by mariners in the 16th century in calculating longitude and accounting for magnetic variance. The distortion may well have been problematic for sailors running short on supplies following a trans-Atlantic crossing had they chosen to land there rather than in the West Indies where most first stopped. When the marine chronometer was invented in 1714 it made possible accurate measurements at sea.
While famous for its geographical contributions, the map is also noted for its beauty and charm. It is generously illustrated with various decorative elements drawn from early encounters with American indigenous peoples. Adding to the interest of the map are two large frigates and a canoe filled with natives. Sea monsters frolicking in the sea further embellish the map, and the cartouches are works of art in themselves. Inland we see a variety of wildlife, and a ‘queen’ and ‘king’ of indigenous peoples of Florida. The lovely title cartouche is set between scenes of Indian settlements which stand behind high, fortified defensive wooden walls. A charming baroque cartouche in the lower right quadrant defines the setting of the decorative compass rose.
What can be referred to as modern cartography has been around for over 550 years. Throughout that time an enormous amount of new land was discovered, cities were founded while others perished. International trade and travel became the norm, political borders were ever-changing, and numerous wars were waged. With all that being said, hundreds of thousands of maps were created that show such events and episodes in time.
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