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Stock# 98851

The First Map to Name the Hudson River and More 

First Significant Printed Map Showing California as an Island

This very rare and somewhat obscure work, styling itself the work of a Peruvian Inca from Cusco, contains a highly important map of North America, which predates the famous Henry Briggs map of 1625 in a number of major cartographic firsts. The Briggs map, whose first known appearance was in Puchas's Pilgrimes (1625), was one of the first to depict California as an island and is often described as the first map to name Hudson's Bay, Cape Cod, and other places in the Northeast discovered by Henry Hudson and Sir Thomas Button. However, the present map of North America, 't Noorder deel van West-Indien, engraved by Abraham Goos, precedes by one year the publication of the discoveries on the Briggs map.

The impressive title of the book, which is in Dutch, translates as

West Indian Mirror, wherein are to be seen all the islands, provinces, countries, the mighty empire of Mexico, the gold and silver land of Peru, with the courses, harbors, etc.

The book was issued in Amsterdam by Broer Jansz (1579-1652), one of the most prolific 17th-century Dutch printers and newspapermen, and the publisher Jacob Pietersz Wachter. 

Although Henry Wagner asserts that the Goos map was copied from an unknown publication of the Briggs' map done sometime before 1624, there is no evidence of such a published map, and this is basically conjecture. Wagner even concedes that, "strictly speaking... the map contained in [West-Indische Spieghel] is the first to show California as an island" (see Wagner, "Some Imaginary California Cartography," 1926). Wagner may have been wrong on this point, since Herrera y Tordesilla's Nova Orbis of 1622 showed California as an island on a title vignette, but the Goos map certainly precedes the publication of Purchas, and as such it is the first map of consequence to show California as an island. Interestingly, Goos and Briggs made the same errors in their respective maps, and both used the identical eastern coastline and English nomenclature. It is possible, even likely, that both men used the same unknown source map, which revealed the new discoveries. Stokes supports this idea: "The original of this map may also be the original of Henry Briggs' map, which it closely resembles." Burden suggests an English source map as there is no indication of a Dutch presence here. In any event, this book by Inga contains the first known publication of these discoveries, preceding the 1625 publication of Briggs' map in Purchas.


An intriguing clue that may solve which map came first (Goos or Briggs) is the respective spelling of Astatlán on each map. Astatlán is the pre-Hispanic culture associated with the region of northern Mexico comprising modern day Mexican states of Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Jalisco and parts of Durango, Zacatecas, and Michoacán. The name is often confounded with the legendary origin of the Aztec people - usually written as Aztlán - believed to encompass the current-day Southwestern United States. Goos indicates this place as A-S-T-A-T-L-A-N, a traditional spelling. Briggs uses an obvious misspelling - Astablan - which strongly suggests a post-Goos issuance. Other misspellings: Laqueo de Ora (Briggs) vs. Laqueo de Oro (Goos) -- lake of Gold. Indeed, Briggs credits "hollanders" for the island of California -- which should make it definitive. 

First Issue of Inga/Goos

Two issues of the Inga/Goos map are described by Burden, the first issue being that in West-Indische Spieghel (with "Fol. 65" printed in the top left corner), which is the one, quite properly, presented here. Another issue of the map appeared in a slightly later publication, also printed by Wachter, Journalen van drie Voyagien (Amsterdam, 1643), where the page number printed on the map was changed to correspond to that publication (i.e. "Fol. 51").

Geographically this is the first map, manuscript or printed, to name the Hudson River. De la war bay also appears for the first time, named after one of the early Governors of Virginia, as does Cape Cod. These of course are subject to proof of an earlier publication of the Briggs map. The west coast expedition of Sebastian Vizcaino, 1602-03, is recorded for the first time with a number of features including P.S. Diego and S. Clemét - Burden.

Also of much interest in the map: Martha's Vineyard indicated by that name; also, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Monterey and San Diego, California.

Beyond the important map of North America, the book itself comprises an extensive compilation of what was then known about Spanish America, with much on the West Indies, Mexico, Peru, and parts of South America. The other folding map in the book depicts South America. Written while the Dutch and Spanish were actively at war, the text is understandably unkind to the latter, feeding in to the old "Black Legend" with further notes of carnage. Inga's text seems mostly based on Spanish accounts, but also incorporates information on the discoveries of Jacob le Maire in 1616, the noted circumnavigator who succeeded in establishing an alternative to the Strait of Magellan.  

Among other things, this volume relates to the Spanish tyranny in the island of Espagnola (Cuba) and other places; it also presents an account of the discoveries of Jacob la Maire in 1616. The work was published while the Dutch were at war with Spain. In 1623 the Duch had attacked Peru and had conquered large possessions of Spain in South America. There is every reason to believe that this work is a composite and that Athanasius, Peruvian Inca, of Cusco, has been used as a pseudonym. In the book, singularly enough, the publishers, use the form of name "Ignatium Ingam Peruaen," instead of the form put on the title-page. Indeed, Berthold Fernow, in Winsor's Narrative & Critical History, IV: 416-417, suggested that the volume was "probably" a work of Willem Usselinx, the originator of the Dutch West India Company, chartered in 1621. The publishers in their address to the Directors of this Company reveal the object of the work, in the hope that the King of Spain, who had the whole world trembling and under tribute, would be forced in a corner... the very unusual North American map between pages 64 and 65, entitled: " 't Noorder deel van West-Indien," engraved by A. Goos... It is the oldest map which contains the name "Hudsons R." and the only map published in Holland during this early period with that name. Other important place names found on it are: "New England," "C. Codd," "Plymouth," and "De la war bay. The presence of the settlement of New Plymouth reveals a source not earlier than 1621 and as the preface of the volume is dated July 10, 1624, we have the period of origin and antecedents fixed between these years. The book is rare... - Stokes.

The map of North America is based on Hudson's voyage of 1609. 

This map, generally attributed to Abraham Goos, pre-dates the Henry Briggs map published in 1625 in Purchas his Pilgrimes, although it may be based on a Briggs map published earlier and separately which is no longer extant. Henry Briggs wrote about an insular California as early as 1622 and actively promoted its existence as an island. This is the first map, manuscript or printed, to name the Hudson River - JCB.

No. 1 Map in McLaughlin & Mayo's California as an Island

The Inga's North America map stands as entry No. 1 in McLaughlin & Mayo's chronological listing of the mapping of California as an island.

Athanasius Inga

Burden and other bibliographers question the existence of Athanasius Inga, the Peruvian from Cusco and purported author of the book.  The true identity of the author is still not known.


The West-Indische Spiegel is very rare in the antiquarian market, and when examples surface, they are often in poor condition. For example, the last two auction appearances of this book were for imperfect copies: one a fragment that sold at Bubb Kuyper in 2014 and appeared again at Stockholms Auktionsverk in 2019 (lacking engraved title page and prelims, as well as 1.5 of the maps and other defects); the other example, bound with a 1624 Dutch edition of Acosta's Natural History of the Indies, sold at Christie's in 1998 for $16,000, but that example lacked the letterpress title. We are aware of one other complete example, in an entirely new binding, that sold privately in the late 1990s. Examples within institutional confines also tend to be less than stellar: the Bavarian State Library copy is badly water stained; the digitized example at Leiden University is lacking a plate; and the John Carter Brown Library example appears to be lacking the map of South America. Even Muller's copy was lacking the title page.

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.

Condition Description
Small quarto. Contemporary vellum with yapp-edges, backed with beautiful antique (18th-century) mottled calf spine, raised bands, gilt-extra. Red leather spine lettering piece. Hand-sewn headbands. Front cover with early private ownership crest stamped in black: small wagon wheel topped with cross. [8], 435, [9] pages. Plus 2 folding double-page folding maps (North America at page 65 and South America at page 151). Including the letterpress and engraved pictorial title pages, 6 engravings in the text (on pages 11, 46, 96, 228, 305, 368), 2 woodcuts (77, 114) and a full-page engraved map of the Straits of Magellan (page 424). Complete. Page 273 misnumbered 673, 398 is 498. Internally quite clean. Leaf F3 toned, likely supplied from another copy, mounted on original stub. Small closed tear to upper margin of map of North America, expertly repaired on verso, no paper loss. Overall condition is excellent, very nice indeed.
European Americana 624/74. McLaughlin & Mayo, The Mapping of California as an Island 1. Sabin 34722. Muller 805 ("complete and fine copies are very rare"). Palau 119668. Sabin 34722. JCB (3) II:186. Bell I-30. Burden, Mapping of North America 210. Tiele I:118. Tiele, Nederlandsche bibliographie van land- en volkenkunde, 520. Stokes (Manhattan) II: pages 96, 139-140 and VI: page 264. Wagner, Northwest Coast 292, and pages 111-116. Wagner, "Some Imaginary California Cartography," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society (1926), pages 29-34. Schmidt, Benjamin, "Mapping an Empire: Cartographic and Colonial Rivalry in Seventeenth-Century Dutch and English North America," The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 54 (1997), pages 549-578.