17th Century Dutch Sea Chart of the The East Coast of America and the Atlantic Trade Route, illustrating the modern European Trade Routes to the West Indies and Eastern Coast of America at the end of the 17th Century .
Fine example of Pierre Mortier's large format map of the Eastern Coastline of North America, Gulf Coast, Caribbean, Central America and the northern coasts of South America, illustrating the trans-Atlantic trade route from Europe to the "Indes Occidentales" and return route via the Eastern Seaboard, following what would later become known as the Gulf Stream.
A dashed line on the map illustrates the routes to the primary ports of call on the trade route, including Cartagena (Colombia), Porto Bello (Panama), Vera Cruz (Mexico) and Havana (Cuba), before sailing north through the so-called Canal de Bahamas (the strait between Florida and the Bahamas), then northward until just south of the Grand Banks, before turning eastward for the return trip across the Atlantic to Europe.
The map depicts a still nascent group of American Colonies, based largely upon Robert Morden's highly inflential Map of the English Empire in America, first published circa 1698, although Mortier focuses entirely upon the coastal features of Morden's map, providing a Portolan style accounting of the information derived from Morden. Interestingly, the Nouveau Pays-Bas (New Netherlands) is still shown as a region between New England and Virgina, long after the Dutch had abandoned the last of their colonial aspirations in the region.
The map includes an early appearance of Philadelphia (first settled in 1682). Long Island is shown as an island. The mouth of the Meschasipi River (Mississippi) is shown well west of its actual location.
The map appeared Suite du Neptue Francois, the second volume of Mortier's Neptune Francois, which expanded on the success of Mortier's first set of sea charts, issued in 1693. Burden notes that the title of many of the charts indicate that the information for the charts was drawn from N.P. d'Ablancourt, a French diplomat based in Lisbon.
Mortier's general chart was accompanied by10 regional maps and charts covering the coastal and inland regions of North America and the Caribbean, making it one of the most important and comprehensive works published at the end of the 17th Century and the last of the large format Dutch published atlases to attempt a large format mapping of both the coastal and interior features of North America.
Pierre, or Pieter, Mortier (1661-1711) was a Dutch engraver, son of a French refugee. He was born in Leiden. In 1690 he was granted a privilege to publish French maps in Dutch lands. In 1693 he released the first and accompanying volume of the Neptune Francois. The third followed in 1700. His son, Cornelis (1699-1783), would partner with Johannes Covens I, creating one of the most important map publishing companies of the eighteenth century.