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Final State of Pieter Van Den Keere's Rare Map of America--The First Single Sheet Wall Map of America To Include Decorative Panels

Fine old color example of the final state of Van Den Keere's map. As noted by Burden, "this very rare map is the first single sheet map of America with decorative borders" (Burden).

Van Den Keere's map of America is a cartographic landmark, being the first obtainable map of America to features decorative figures in the border. Inspired by Willem Janszoon Blaeu's 1608 wall map of America, Van Den Keere created a set of 4 maps of the continents which feature decorative figures of indigenous peoples at the sides and city views along the top and bottom. A unique variation employed by Van Den Keere, which was not incorporated by Blaeu, is the use of portraits of the most important American in the top and bottom borders, including Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Ferdinand Magellan, Francis Drake, Thomas Cavendish and Olivier Van Noort, identifying the accomplishments of each and the date of their epic voyage beneath the latter 4 names.

Cartographically, the map draws upon the work of Jodocus Hondius's 1606 map of America, which in turn was based upon a wall map by Petrus Plancius. It retains some of the most fascinating cartographic anomalies of the period, including the bulging east coast of Virginia and pronounced over-dramatic width of North America, extra wide South America, Straits of Anian, Quivira and narrow passage between South America and the Unknown Southern Continent.

The present example is the final edition of the map.

The most important cartographic information in the map was the incorporation of Henry Hudson's discoveries in Hudson Bay, where "The B. where Hudson did winter" is located, a very reference to Hudson's discoveries in 1614.

Van Den Keere fled to London in 1584 when he was 13 years old to avoid religious persecution. His sister married Jodocus Hondius, who was also then a resident in London. With this introduction, Van Den Keere's career path was set. He returned to Amsterdam in 1593. The present map was engraved by Abraham Goos, Van den Keere's nephew.

Burden recorded the map in 6 states, but we have since discovered a 7th State (dated 1650, with updated Staten Island, which was previously thought to be updated in the 1652 state):

  • 1614: Tierra del Fuego attached to the southern continent--1614 date.
  • 1618: Tierra del Fuego is an island.
  • 1631: Van Den Keere imprint replaced with Per Nicolaum Io. Visscher. Anno 1631.
  • 1633: Date updated to 1633
  • 1636: Date updated to 1636
  • 1650: Staten Land is now an island at the tip of South America and the date is updated to 1650.
  • 1652:  Dated updated to 1652

All states of the map are very rare and, when found, are typically trimmed into the printed image. The present example is in exceptional condition, with unusually wide margins.

Condition Description
Old Color. Wide margins. Minor toning in margins and minor repair at lower centerfold.
Burden 182.