Quite possibly the most important map of the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic published in the first half of the 17th Century.
Johannes De Laet's highly influential map of the East Coast of North America is a cartographic landmark, depicting the region at a time when Dutch and English regional settlements were beginning to accelerate.Burden describes the map as
a map of extreme importance. . . Hessel Gerritsz, the author and probable engraver of the map, had been the official cartographer to the Dutch East India Company since 1617. He would have seen all the documentation and charts from the Dutch voyages into the area of the Hudson River. His depiction of the coastal area between Chesapeake Bay and Cape Cod is by far the finest yet seen. This despite the fact that he still shows the Delaware River flowing from a lake. This is descended from the so-called figurative map of Cornelis Hendrick, 1616. The map . . . exhibits signs of being familiar with the other important derivative map of the period, that of Adrian Block, 1614. This is the first occurance of NOVVUM BELIGVM, or New Netherlands, in the title. The reason for it being referred to here as Belgium is that the majority of the backing of the Dutch West India Company was by Walloon Protestants of that reigon.
De Lae'ts map was the first map to name in any form Manhattan, New Amsterdam, the North River (Hudson) and South River (Delaware), along with the first appearance of Massachusetts (and the recently established English Colony therein).
De Laet's map appeared in his seminal work on America, which is widely regarded as the most important and influential treatise on the subject published in the 17th Century. The two maps provide the best representation to date of the coastline, and is among the earliest printed maps to document English settlement in New England and Dutch settlement along the Hudson River.
This is also an early map to identify any part of the Great Lakes, with Grand Lac (Karpinski believed the lake to be Lake Huron, while Burden states that it is Lake Huron) and Lac des Yroquois (Ontario or Erie) depicted. In New England, the name Massachusetts is used for only the first time. The only European settlement shown in New England is Plymouth, established in 1620. Bristow is derived from John Smith's famous 1614 map of New England. Further south shows the Dutch settlements of New Amsterdam (New York City) and Fort Orange (Albany).
Johannes De Laet was an important participant in the founding of New Netherlands and a director of the Dutch West India Company, which sponsored its settlement. He also owned a large tract of land in the area of Albany. He therefore would have had access to surveys and information from Dutch colonists, which explains how he produced this fine map at such an early date.