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First State

Nice old color example of this important map of Lithuania at its grandest scale (including Poland, Ukraine and part of Russia), including a large inset of the Dnieper River, based upon Hessel Gerritsz's four sheet map of the same title.

Hessel Gerritsz prepared his original map from manuscript drafts prepared under the instructions of Prince Nicolas Christophe Radziwill. His four sheet map was first issued in 1613 by Willem Blaeu, under Blaeu's original imprint Guilhelmus Janssonis. This is one of the earliest maps published by Blaeu, who did not incorporate this map into an atlas until approximately 1630.

The Radziwill map is one of the most important works of European cartography from the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century and is an important contribution to the progress in the mapping of the whole continent. The map had its beginning in 1586 when Prince Michael Radziwill commissioned M. Strubicz to survey the entire Lithuanian state which then included Poland. Strubicz's map was so accurate and detailed that it provided the basis for all subsequent maps of the area during the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition to the usual topographical details, there is considerable historical information also provided.

The map includes the Lithuanian coat of arms, title cartouche, sailing ship and vignettes within the image. Buczek remarks that:

the map ... occupies a very prominent position among ... European cartography ... and ... was also a great step forward in the mapping of the lands then forming part of Poland ... there are on the map 1020 towns and villages and within the boundaries of the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania alone there are 511 towns, 31 villages, and 1 monastery.


Following Blaeu's original 4-sheet version of the Gerritsz map, Blaeu and Jansson issued single sheet versions, the latter of which was re-issued by Valk & Schenk at the end of the 17th century.

Imago Poloniae lists four states:

  1. Hondius, 1636. Bears inscription Sumptibus Henrici Hondy.
  2. Jansson, 1649. Bears inscription Sumptibus Joannis Janssonii.
  3. Moses Pitt, 1680. Bears inscription Sumptib Janssonio-Waesbergior.
  4. Schenk and Valck, 1690. Beears incsription Typis Amstel. apud | P.Schenk & G.Valk. Cum priv:

This edition bears the inscription Sumptibus Henrici Hodny (Hondius), making it the earliest of the states from this plate.

Condition Description
Original hand-color.
History of Polish Cartography, p.58-63
Henricus Hondius Biography

Henricus Hondius (1597-1651) was a Dutch engraver and mapmaker, a member of a prominent cartographic family. His father, Jodocus Hondius, was also an engraver and geographer. While working with his father, Henricus was instrumental in the expansion and republishing of Mercator’s atlas, first published in 1595 and republished by Hondius in 1606.   

Upon his father’s death in 1612, Henricus and his brother, Jodocus the Younger, took over the business. He set up his own shop in 1621, where he continued to release new editions of the Mercator atlas. Later, he partnered with his brother-in-law, Jan Janssonius, in continuing to expand and publish Mercator’s atlas, which would become known as the Mercator-Hondius-Janssonius atlas. Born and based in Amsterdam, he died there in 1651.