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German Adaptation of De L'Isle's Seminal Map of Mexico and Florida

Beautifully-decorated adaptation of Guillaume De L'Isle's landmark map of Mexico and Florida by respected German map publisher Matthaus Seutter.

The map provides a view of North America from the Great Lakes through the West Indies. It is an update on De L’Isle’s 1703 map of “Mexique et Floride.”

The political divisions of this map reflect the 1713 Treat of Utrecht. The British colonies are confined east of the Appalachian Mountains, France controls the Mississippi valley and Florida, and Spain possesses Mexico and New Mexico. Each of the main colonial powers are delineated with their own color.

This map has numerous decorative elements, including the engaging illustration in the lower left corner of a large sea battle. Ships can be seen fighting offshore while onlookers study the battle from the shore or converse among their parties. There is another sea battle illustration on this map in the Atlantic around Bermuda, which creates both nice visual balance and an exciting visual theme. Below the Atlantic sea battle is a compass, an additional decorative touch. The scale bar cartouche has a naval theme, with fish, water, and sailing implements, which is a nice embellishment. The map is also richly annotated with information regarding Spanish activities in and around the Gulf of Mexico, as well as information about specific areas.

In addition to pleasing illustrations and informative annotations, the map includes land and sea routes, which add to the map’s overall theme of exploration and doubtless helped to make North America seem more tangible to this map’s original viewers in eighteenth century Europe.

Several geographic elements of this map are notably more accurate than maps created in the earlier years of the eighteenth century, due to the dissemination of exploratory accounts from the La Salle expedition and explorations of Bienville and d'Iberville. Islands off the coast of Texas and the general coastline of North America contain a good amount of detail for this time period. The interior of North America is nicely detailed as well, specifically its rivers, mountains, and the Great Lakes.

Seutter’s map is an excellent decorative example of German cartography of the mid-eighteenth century and showcases superb illustrative skill. It is an engaging addition to any collection of North America and includes good depictions of the Mississippi River and Great Lakes alongside its numerous and pleasing illustrations.

Michael Ritter, "Seutter, Probst and Lotter: An Eighteenth-Century Map Publishing House in Germany," Imago Mundi 53 (2001): 130-35;R. V. Tooley, French Mapping of the Americas: The De L'Isle, Buache, Dezauche Succession (1700-1830), Map Collectors' Series No. 33 (London: Map Collectors' Circle, 1967). ACA.
Martin & Martin 97; Lowery 328 (both referencing Lotter's reissue of the map in 1770).
Tobias Conrad Lotter Biography

Tobias Conrad Lotter (1717-1777) is one of the best-known German mapmakers of the eighteenth century. He engraved many of the maps published by Matthaus Seutter, to whose daughter Lotter was married. He took over Seutter’s business in 1756. Lotter’s son, M. A. Lotter, succeeded his father in the business.