This is the 1632 state of Jansson's rare map of America, first issued in 1623. The map shows the Americas from Tierra del Fuego to Cape Mendocino and the Hudson Strait. Two inset maps depict the poles, with a large Australis Terra Incognita depicted. Three sides of the map include intricate vignettes, depicting the peoples and cities of the continent. The inclusion of details such as the many ships and monsters in the oceans makes for a very attractive map.
Countless settlements, capes, rivers, mountain ranges, and much more are all labeled on the present map. The detail is extensive, with many features of the continent easily recognizable. The Mississippi is named the Rio del Spiritus and trails off into a mountain range somewhere in Missouri. The Hudson Bay dives deep into Canada, nearly reaching what appears to be the Great Lakes. The Amazon River is referred to as R. de las Amazones vel Oregliana, referring to Francisco de Orellano, first European to travel the length of the river.
The representation of the cities and peoples of the New World is fascinating. Following Blaeu's depictions, Jansson shows the people of Brazil, Peru, Chile, California [New Albion], Florida, Virginia, and other regions. The cities shown along the top depart slightly from those in Blaeu's original map, with the inclusion of more North American cities. Fort Carolina is shown, which was the short-lived French and Spanish settlement in northernmost Florida. The exact location of the fort is not known, but it is here depicted at the convergence of two rivers. St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States, is also shown.
As noted by Philip Burden in the Supplement to his Mapping North of America to 1670, the Hondius-Jansson map of America is a fascinating and, until recently, an under-appreciated rarity. While at first blush the map appears identical to Blaeu's America, there are a number of differences. Most notably, the Hondius-Jansson map includes inset views of villages North America, including the Pomeiock Village in North Carolina as well as the other views already mentioned. The peninsular arrangement of California is retained from Blaeu's map, and the extended Northwest Coast includes definitive place names north of forty degrees latitude, including Cape Mendocino.
The East Coast of North America is rich with Indian names. The polar region inset is derived from Blaeu's wall map of 1608, as are some of the towns illustrated along the top.
States of the Map
This map has a prolonged and complicated history. The earliest sets of the map included a set of views across the bottom of the map, which were removed very early in the printing history of the plate. Shortly after the plate was completed in 1623, the top right corner of the plate chipped off. Later editions removed the depictions of indigenous peoples along the sides. After cataloging the map for the first volume of his work on North America, Burden learned of several new unrecorded states of the map, such that the history of the map is now believed to be as follows:
- State 1--1623: Henricus Hondius imprint only. No chip at top right corner (1 known example--University of Leiden)
- State 2--1623: Joannes Janssonius imprint added. No chip at top right corner (1 known example--British Library)
- State 3--1623 ca: Chip at top right corner
- State 4--1625: "excudit. 1625" added after Janssonius' name. Lower panels removed. (1 known example, which we have handled). German text on verso.
- State 5--1632: "1625" removed.
Burden surmises that the first several states of the map were proof states, issued in short succession. The map was redrawn in 1659 on a different plate (Burden 333).
Jan Janssonius (also known as Johann or Jan Jansson or Janszoon) (1588-1664) was a renowned geographer and publisher of the seventeenth century, when the Dutch dominated map publishing in Europe. Born in Arnhem, Jan was first exposed to the trade via his father, who was also a bookseller and publisher. In 1612, Jan married the daughter of Jodocus Hondius, who was also a prominent mapmaker and seller. Jonssonius’ first maps date from 1616.
In the 1630s, Janssonius worked with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius. Their most successful venture was to reissue the Mercator-Hondius atlas. Jodocus Hondius had acquired the plates to the Mercator atlas, first published in 1595, and added 36 additional maps. After Hondius died in 1612, Henricus took over publication; Janssonius joined the venture in 1633. Eventually, the atlas was renamed the Atlas Novus and then the Atlas Major, by which time it had expanded to eleven volumes. Janssonius is also well known for his volume of English county maps, published in 1646.
Janssonius died in Amsterdam in 1664. His son-in-law, Johannes van Waesbergen, took over his business. Eventually, many of Janssonius’ plates were sold to Gerard Valck and Pieter Schenk, who added their names and continued to reissue the maps.