Rare Map Showing California as an Island and the North Pacific
First state of Pierre Du Val's map, extending from Japan to New Mexico and south to Mindanao, etc. tracking the route of the Spanish Galleons across the Pacific Ocean, including the southerly route to Manila and the more northly route up past Japan and down the California Coastilne upon return.
The second title for the map, which describes this sheet, is Le Nouveau Mexique et Le Terre de Iesso. This map was issued as a separate map of the Southwestern Sheet of Du Val's monumental 4 sheet wall map of America.
Du Val's map provide a remarkably clear version of California as an island. Du Val's particular California configuration is taken from the Luke Foxe form introduced on a map in 1664.
The rest of the American Southwest is rendered with some detail, and the usual speculative inclusions, such as the mythical land of "Quivira" and "Anian". In the Southwest, Du Val labels several Apaches: "Apaches de Navaio", "Apaches de Xila", "Apaches de Perillo", and "Apaches Vaqueros". The Rio del Nort is shown with its source in a large and fictional "lac de Conibas", emptying into the Gulf of California.
This map seems to have been intended as a rhetorical device promoting the idea of a discovered Northwest Passage. Duval makes the case clearly by stating that "On croit qu'en cet endroit il y a communication entre les Mers de Nort et de Sud." that is: "It is believed that this strait communicates between the Seas of the North and the South."
Galleon routes between Mexico and the Phillipines are depicted. A large "Terre de Iesso al Eso" is situated off the northwest coast of California.
The 1679 first state of the map includes the imprint: "Chez l'Auteur l'Isle du Palais/ Sur le Quay de l'Orloge proche le coin de / la rue de Harley".
Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America, 414
Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, 60
Pierre Duval (1618-1683) was a French geographer, cartographer, and publisher who worked in Abbeville and Paris during the 17th century. He was born in Abbeville, in northeast France. Duval was the nephew of the famous cartographer Nicolas Sanson, from whom he learned the mapmakers art. Both men worked at the royal court, having followed the royal request for artists to relocate to Paris. In addition to numerous maps and atlases, Duval's opus also includes geographic lexicons in French. Among them is the dictionary about the Opatija in France, the first universal and vernacular geographic dictionary of Europe published in Paris in 1651, and a dictionary about the ancient sites of Asians, Persians, Greeks and the Romans with their equivalent toponyms.