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Charting the Gulf Coast in the Early 18th Century

Rare fourth state of Van Keulen's map of the Gulf Coast, from Florida and Texas to the Yucatan.

The map is oriented with West at the top, 

Gerard Van Keulen's map of the Gulf Coast is a landmark coastal chart of Texas and the Gulf Coast, extending to just east of Pensacola Bay. Martin & Martin notes that the Van Keulen chart of the Gulf Coast represented the most sophisticated rendering of the Gulf Coast to date. This fourth state is continues the process of significantly revising the coastline, especially in Florida, the Gulf Coast and Texas, as demonstrated by a comparison to the earlier states of the map by Johannes Van Keulen:


As can be seen in comparing the two maps, the later editions add dozens of new place names and significantly re-works the coastal details, primarily from information derived from the Spanish. Other than the title, this 4th state bears little resemblance to the earlier editions of the chart.

The map shows dozens of place names along the coast of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, along with detailed soundings. Fortifications are shown at Pensacola, F. Anconbazo, Pascagoula, Fort Bilocci (Biloxi), Mexicano (near Cap Delnarte) and several places near the mouth of the Mississippi River, along with Matos de Salvador. Several compass roses, rhumb lines, ships at sea and other decorative features.

The Van Keulen family followed the Blaeu family as the official sea chart makers of the Dutch East Indies Company. Their charts are of paramount importance in the development of Marine Cartography. The fourth book of the Van Keulen Zee-fakkel, dedicated to the Americas, is one of most important of all American cartographic works, substantially updating and improving all then existing compilations on the coast of the Americas.

There are 4 known states of the map, as described by Burden:

  • State 1: 1684 - No page numbers in the corners
  • State 2: 1687 - Page #14 at lower left
  • State 3: 1695 - Costa de Piscadoras added for a second time (offshore at the top of the map).  Large shoal added off the Yucatan Coast.   Shoal off Florida extended into Baja de Spirito Sancto.  Page number in 2 corners.
  • State 4: 1734 - Coastal mountains in Mexico.  Vooght's imprint removed.  Gerard Van Keulen name replaces Johannis.
Martin & Martin #11.