The Second Earliest Dutch Map of the Carolinas, Southern Virginia & Georgia
Nice example of Blaeu's important early map of the Southeast, based on the 1606 Mercator-Hondius map, but with significant improvements.
The map covers an area from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to Georgia and reflects the competing interests of France and England in the New World, with the coat of arms of each country identifying the regional control. As noted by Burden, the French claims are supported primarily by the French colonization efforts of the 1560s.
As noted by Burden,
The greatest improvement occurs in the northern half of the map north of Porto Royal. Whereas on the Hondius [map] the coastline towards C. de. Ste. Romano (present day Cape Fear) veered directly east, Blaeu more correctly takes it north-east, placing the cape closer to its true position of 34 degrees. This span of coastline is approximately that of present day South Carolina's. This now presents to us a more accurately proportioned Outer Banks region, radically reduced in size but still slightly too far north. For these improvements, Blaeu drew upon the extremely rare DE EYLANDEN . . . by Hessel Gerritsz., c. 1631. The Outer Banks combine the placenames of Gerritsz and Hondius, often using two different ones for the same area . . .
Chesapeake Bay was depicted just as a small bay on Hondius' map of 1606, as John Smith was yet to explore these waters. The Gerritsz terminated at this point, and only two placenames appeared. Blaeu draws largely on Smith's map for much of the nomenclature but introduces some English [names] from an unknown source. The most important is Newport News, founded in 1621 and apparently shown here for the first time on a printed map. Also new are Bermouth, Stortingen and Arglas . . .
Includes the marvelous mythical lakes in the interior and other conjectural cartography of the time. Large cartouche, 2 coat of arms, 2 compass roses and several sailing ships.
Blaeu's map is nearly identical to Jansson's map. The easiest way to distinguish the two maps is by the erroneous longitudinal number 200 in the lower right corner on Blaeu's map. The correct number (300) appears on Jansson's map.
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.