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An Enormous Carolina Configuration, from the Powhatan (James) River to Florida. Dedication to Anthony Ashley Cooper, First Earl of Shaftesbury 

Finely colored example of Blome's increasing rare map of North America, the second earliest map of the continent published in England, after Briggs' landmark map, and the first true folio-sized map.

As discussed below, this is a rare post-1682 "Carolina" edition, with revised cartographic details and dedications reflecting a new focus on the Province of Carolina.

Blome's map of North America is the first English map to depict all five Great Lakes and introduces some significant cartographic advances. Newfoundland is improved with the depiction of the Avalon Peninsula. The mid-Atlantic region is significantly improved--with Maryland prominently named, reflecting importance of this region to the map's patron, Lord Baltimore. This is also one of the earliest appearances of the name New Yorke, with New Amsterdam erased immediately below it. There is a curious mountain range in Florida. Pre-dates the naming of the Carolina Colony.

The map is richly embellished with animals, sea monsters and sailing ships, along with a lone Indian. The significant cartographic Anglocentric corrections in this map have received little attention, although the map is much scarcer than contemporary French and Dutch maps.

First issued in 1668, the present example has been significantly revised from the earlier states, with significant updates relating to the Carolina Province.  This state moves the Carolina-Virginia border northwards, to the Powhatan River.

Anthony Ashley Cooper, First Earl of Shaftesbury

Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (1621-1683) was a prominent English politician during the Interregnum and the reign of King Charles II. A founder of the Whig party, he was also the patron of John Locke.

During the English Interregnum, he served on the English Council of State under Oliver Cromwell, although he opposed Cromwell's attempt to rule without Parliament during the Rule of the Major-Generals. He also opposed the religious extremism of the Fifth Monarchists during Barebone's Parliament.

He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1661–1672. He was created Earl of Shaftesbury in 1672. During this period, John Locke entered his household.

Ashley took an interest in colonial ventures and was one of the Lords Proprietor of the Province of Carolina. In 1669, Ashley and Locke collaborated in writing the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina. 

States of the Map

According to Burden, there are 6 states of the map, identifiable as follows:

  • First (Proof?) State: dated 1668, with dedication to Caecilius Calvert Baron Baltemore
  • Second State): dated 1669.
  • Third State (circa 1682):  date erased and dedication changed the Earle of Shaftesbury.  Carolina is named.
  • Fourth State (1682): The name Weapemeoc is changed to Albemarle. The Trinity and Jordan Rivers are displaced by the addition of Charles Towne and the Ashley R.
  • Fifth State (1683): Dedication with 8 family lines now listed, rather than 2 in the prior state. Virginia-Carolina Border move north above Albemarle.
  • Sixth State (1693): Paste down dedication to Jeffery Jefferys of the Priory of Brecknock pasted over the dedication in State 5.

California as an island

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.

Burden 397, McLaughlin 42, Tooley 26-28, Wagner 368, Leighly 55.