The First American Map to Focus on the Area Around Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard.
Isaiah Thomas's A Map of Cape Cod and the Parts adjacent is an exceptional map, the first printed in America to concentrate exclusively on the Cape Cod area, reflecting an early proposition to establish a canal between Barnstable Bay and Buzzard Bay. The map appeared in the Massachusetts Magazine.
The historical context of this map lies in the burgeoning period of American cartography, and more particularly, in the early discussions regarding the Cape Cod Canal's construction. The Cape Cod Canal, an artificial waterway connecting Cape Cod Bay to Buzzard Bay, was eventually completed in the 20th century, dramatically reducing maritime travel times in the region. This map provides a glimpse into the initial planning stages of this major engineering feat.
The map extends from Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in the south to Salem, Marblehead, Cape Ann, Pidgeon Hill, and Thatchers Land Light House in the north, with a focus on Plymouth Bay and Cape Cod. Although the engraver is not explicitly mentioned, the work is credited to Samuel Hill of Boston. This connection adds further depth to the map's importance, as Hill was a respected American engraver and artist.
The map indicates a number of significant geographical features and locations, including "Nantukket I.," "Bass Rips," "Mufk'get I", "Tucknuck I.," "Martha's Vineyard I.," "Cape Poge," "Gay Head," "Nomans Land," and others. These details add to the map's value, offering a snapshot of the area's geography during a key period in its developmental history.