Antique map of the southern half of North America, from the Island of California to Florida, by Herman Moll, London's most famous cartographer of the early 18th Century. The map shows remarkable detail for a map of its size, including very nice detail in modern-day New Mexico and Texas, along with an interesting projection of Florida and the Gulf Coast. Several early settlements are named along the Gulf Coast and Mississippi River Basin. The relationship shown between French, English, and Spanish colonies and settlements in this region are the foundations of the troubles that will later result in the French and Indian War.
The configuration of Florida in this sample varies from Moll's other works. The Caribbean Sea is labeled the North Sea, while the East Pacific is labeled the Great South Sea. A note on Columbia places it as "part of terra firma," while California is shown disconnected from the mainland.
Herman Moll (c. 1654-1732) was one of the most important London mapmakers in the first half of the eighteenth century. Moll was probably born in Bremen, Germany, around 1654. He moved to London to escape the Scanian Wars. His earliest work was as an engraver for Moses Pitt on the production of the English Atlas, a failed work which landed Pitt in debtor's prison. Moll also engraved for Sir Jonas Moore, Grenville Collins, John Adair, and the Seller & Price firm. He published his first original maps in the early 1680s and had set up his own shop by the 1690s.
Moll's work quickly helped him become a member of a group which congregated at Jonathan's Coffee House at Number 20 Exchange Alley, Cornhill, where speculators met to trade stock. Moll's circle included the scientist Robert Hooke, the archaeologist William Stuckley, the authors Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe, and the intellectually-gifted pirates William Dampier, Woodes Rogers and William Hacke. From these contacts, Moll gained a great deal of privileged information that was included in his maps.
Over the course of his career, he published dozens of geographies, atlases, and histories, not to mention numerous sheet maps. His most famous works are Atlas Geographus, a monthly magazine that ran from 1708 to 1717, and The World Described (1715-54). He also frequently made maps for books, including those of Dampier’s publications and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Moll died in 1732. It is likely that his plates passed to another contemporary, Thomas Bowles, after this death.