Fine Double-Hemisphere World Map—Jaillot’s Final World Map
Fine example of Hubert Jaillot's final double hemisphere map of the world, first published in 1695.
This is the later state of the map; the primary difference between this and the early state is that California is corrected to be shown as (nearly) a peninsula, and the large horizontal shore stretching across the North Pacific has been removed. The later state can also be identified by the addition of “Geographe de sa Majesté” in Jaillot’s title.
The original map was made for the Atlas François and was first published in 1695 and reprinted in 1696, 1698, 1700, and 1706. Geographically and aesthetically, the 1695 map is very similar to Jaillot’s larger world map of 1674, which was based on the work of Sanson.
In the eastern hemisphere, Africa, Asia, and Europe are thick with inland details of mountains, lakes, rivers, cities, and political units, such as empires. Madagascar is slightly arced to the east, which is a typical depiction for the time. In the Arctic are the open coastlines of Greenland, Spitsbergen, and Nova Zemla [sic.]. In Maritime Southeast Asia, Terre de Papous has a sharp, elongated appearance, the conglomeration of several islands whose precise outlines were still unknown.
Australia is unfinished to the east, but has several toponyms along its shores. These originate from Dutch encounters with the continent as they sailed to trade with Southeast Asia. They include Terre de Arnhem, in reference to the Arnhem, a Dutch East India ship, which sighted the area in 1623. Witlande recalls Gerrit Frederikszoon de Witt, captain of the Vianen, which sailed in 1628. De Witt ran aground near what is now Port Hedland. He managed to free his ship by offloading cargo and coasted southward. Houtmans and Edels Eyl both refer to the same voyage. Jacob d’Edel, in the Amsterdam, along with Frederik de Houtman in the Dordrecht came within sight of the western coast in 1619. Also here is Terre de Nuitz; Pieter Nuyts, a Dutch navigator, commanded the Gulden Zeepaert along the southern coast in 1627.
In the western hemisphere, California appears to be a peninsula again, although closer inspection shows it to be not actually attached via the Gulf of California. In the late-seventeenth century, many mapmakers had adopted the island depiction. However, others were questioning its existence, such as Guillaume Delisle. Jaillot hedged his bets here, approximating California as a peninsula while not actually connecting it near Mexico.
New Guinea is a massive island adrift from its neighbors. Nearby is an unfinished, finger-like landmass called Terr de Quir, an approximation of Vanuatu that was encountered during Quiros’ 1605 voyage in search of a Pacific paradise. Farther north, an exaggerated Hokkaido, usually shown as an island of varying sizes on maps of this period, creates a large peninsular bulge to far northeastern Asia. Farther south, the short, open shores of Van Diemen’s Land and New Zealand are included; they were both sighted by Abel Tasman on his 1642 voyage.
Running across both hemispheres are long coastlines that, though unconnected, suggest a continent between them. The southern continent was a long- and much-hoped-for geographic chimera. It was thought that a continent-sized landmass had to exist in the southern hemisphere to balance out the continents of the north. Cook disproved the idea of a large, temperate southern continent on his second voyage (1772-5), but, in the late-seventeenth century, the hunt was still on for Terra Australia Incognita.
There are decorative details where the hemispheres join. Above are triumphant angels framing a cartouche with the King’s coat of arms. The map is dedicated to the French King, which was Louis XIV when the map was originally published. Below, mermaids and sea monsters guard a cartouche with the publication details.
The popular misconception of California as an island can be found on European maps from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. From its first portrayal on a printed map by Diego Gutiérrez, in 1562, California was shown as part of North America by mapmakers, including Gerardus Mercator and Abraham Ortelius. In the 1620s, however, it began to appear as an island in several sources. While most of these show the equivalent of the modern state of California separated from the continent, others, like a manuscript chart by Joao Teixeira Albernaz I (ca. 1632) now in the collection of the National Library of Brasil shows the entire western half of North Americas as an island.
The myth of California as an island was most likely the result of the travel account of Sebastian Vizcaino, who had been sent north up the shore of California in 1602. A Carmelite friar, Fray Antonio de la Ascensión, accompanied him. Ascension described the land as an island and around 1620 sketched maps to that effect. Normally, this information would have been reviewed and locked in the Spanish repository, the Casa de la Contratación. However, the manuscript maps were intercepted in the Atlantic by the Dutch, who took them to Amsterdam where they began to circulate. Ascensión also published descriptions of the insular geography in Juan Torquemada’s Monarquia Indiana (1613) (with the island details curtailed somewhat) and in his own Relación breve of ca. 1620.
The first known maps to show California as an island were on the title pages of Antonio de Herrera’s Descripción de las Indias Occidentales (1622) and Jacob le Maire's Spieghel Der Australische Navigatie (1622). Two early examples of larger maps are those by Abraham Goos (1624) and another by Henry Briggs, which was included in Samuel Purchas’ Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas his Pilgrimes (1625). In addition to Briggs and Goos, prominent practitioners like Jan Jansson and Nicolas Sanson adopted the new island and the practice became commonplace. John Speed’s map (1626-7), based on Briggs’ work, is well known for being one of the first to depict an insular California.
The island of California became a fixture on mid- and late-seventeenth century maps. The island suggested possible links to the Northwest Passage, with rivers in the North American interior supposedly connecting to the sea between California and the mainland. Furthermore, Francis Drake had landed in northern California on his circumnavigation (1577-80) and an insular California suggested that Spanish power in the area could be questioned.
Not everyone was convinced, however. Father Eusebio Kino, after extensive travels in what is now California, Arizona, and northern Mexico concluded that the island was actually a peninsula and published a map refuting the claim (Paris, 1705). Another skeptic was Guillaume De L’Isle. In 1700, De L’Isle discussed “whether California is an Island or a part of the continent” with J. D. Cassini; the letter was published in 1715. After reviewing all the literature available to him in Paris, De L’Isle concluded that the evidence supporting an insular California was not trustworthy. He also cited more recent explorations by the Jesuits (including Kino) that disproved the island theory. Later, in his map of 1722 (Carte d’Amerique dressee pour l’usage du Roy), De L’Isle would abandon the island theory entirely.
Despite Kino’s and De L’Isle’s work, California as an island remained common on maps until the mid-eighteenth century. De L’Isle’s son-in-law, Philippe Buache, for example, remained an adherent of the island depiction for some time. Another believer was Herman Moll, who reported that California was unequivocally an island, for he had had sailors in his offices that claimed to have circumnavigated it. In the face of such skepticism, the King of Spain, Ferdinand VII, had to issue a decree in 1747 proclaiming California to be a peninsula connected to North America; the geographic chimera, no matter how appealing, was not to be suffered any longer, although a few final maps were printed with the lingering island.
Alexis-Hubert Jaillot (ca. 1632-1712) was one of the most important French cartographers of the seventeenth century. Jaillot traveled to Paris with his brother, Simon, in 1657, hoping to take advantage of Louis XIV's call to the artists and scientists of France to settle and work in Paris. Originally a sculptor, he married the daughter of Nicholas Berey, Jeanne Berey, in 1664, and went into partnership with Nicholas Sanson's sons. Beginning in 1669, he re-engraved and often enlarged many of Sanson's maps, filling in the gap left by the destruction of the Blaeu's printing establishment in 1672.