A scarce example of Blaeu's map of America, without the decorative panels. The map was issued in Emanuel van Meteren's Meteranus Novus, published in Amsterdam in 1633. The delineation of the coast and the nomenclature on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are basically Spanish in origin and follow the maps of Ortelius and Wytfliet. To these Willem Blaeu has inserted on the East Coast the English names given by the Roanoke colonists in Virginia and by Frobisher, Davis and Hudson to the far north. Blaeu has added French names in Florida and along the St Lawrence. European geographers still had no knowledge of the extent of the Mississippi. From the expedition journals of De Soto (1539-43) they had inferred and extensive range of east west, trending mountains north of the Gulf of Mexico, precluding any great river system. The Great Lakes were as yet unknown, although Champlain had reached Huron and had heard of the lakes from Coral Indians and had, in 1632, published his own map showing the region. During the printing process the figured borders have been covered, to fit the smaller format of the book. A gorgeous example, with a nice dark impression. Burden, 189.
Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) was a prominent Dutch geographer and publisher. Born the son of a herring merchant, Blaeu chose not fish but mathematics and astronomy for his focus. He studied with the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, with whom he honed his instrument and globe making skills. Blaeu set up shop in Amsterdam, where he sold instruments and globes, published maps, and edited the works of intellectuals like Descartes and Hugo Grotius. In 1635, he released his atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, sive, Atlas novus.
Willem died in 1638. He had two sons, Cornelis (1610-1648) and Joan (1596-1673). Joan trained as a lawyer, but joined his father’s business rather than practice. After his father’s death, the brothers took over their father’s shop and Joan took on his work as hydrographer to the Dutch East India Company. Later in life, Joan would modify and greatly expand his father’s Atlas novus, eventually releasing his masterpiece, the Atlas maior, between 1662 and 1672.