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A Foundational Map of the Northeastern United States

Nice old color example of one of the fundamental prototype maps of America.

Jansson's map is the prototype for the famed Jansson-Visscher series and the model for the mapping of the northeast region for the next 100 years. As noted by Tony Campell, "The prototype map represents Dutch elegance at its best." (Campbell) Jansson's map is the earliest collectible map to show the correct shapes of Manhattan and Long Island and the first to show the Swedish settlements in New Jersey on the Delaware River. It is believed that every settlement that existed in the northeast at the time can be found on this map. It was the first map to show many of the English settlements in the Northeast, particularly those along the Connecticut coast. Likewise, all the Indian tribes that were encountered by Europeans at the time are noted on the map.

Jansson's map is equally important for its seminal compilation of mid-17th century geographic knowledge. According to Stokes, the overall outline is derived from a now-lost map executed by or for Peter Minuit around 1630. The Minuit in turn seems to have been based on at least three earlier maps, including John Smith's Virginia (1612) for the Chesapeake, Adriaen Block's untitled manuscript (ca. 1614) for northern New England and the St. Lawrence, and Smith's map New England (1616) for Massachusetts Bay and the Maine coast.

The Minuit map apparently integrated these sources to yield a coherent depiction of the coastal region and the major river systems (Connecticut, Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Chesapeake) that were essential to shaping settlement patterns. Superimposed on the Minuit framework identified by Stokes is more recent information from surveys made during the early years of the New Netherlands. Evidence suggests that the map derives from the same sources as the Van der Donck manuscript map of the region. Some suggest that the map is in fact a reduced version of a manuscript map by Augustine Herman or Van der Donck.

Long Island is also in a more modern configuration. Breukelen is named among other early place names and Indian Villages. The Versche (Connecticut) River extends far inland. Many early English Settlements appear here for the first time, including Springfield (Mr. Pinsers), Voynser (Windsor), Herfort (Hartford) and Weeters Velt (Weathersfield), Stamfort, Nieuhaven and Milfort are shown. Richly illustrated with cartouches, forts, animals.

States of the Map

Burden notes the following states:

  • State 1: lacking dedication cartouche to de Raet (1651)
  • State 2: with dedication cartouche to de Raet and Jansson imprint (ca 1660)
  • State 3: Schenk and Valk imprint replaces Jansson. (ca 1694)
Burden 305, Stokes, I.N.P. The Iconography of Manhattan, I, pp. 143-146; De Koning, “From Van der Donck to Visscher,” Mercator’s World vol. 5 no. 4 (July/August 2000), pp. 28-33; Campbell, T. in Tooley, R.V. The Mapping of America, pp. 279, 283.
Jan Jansson Biography

Jan Janssonius (also known as Johann or Jan Jansson or Janszoon) (1588-1664) was a renowned geographer and publisher of the seventeenth century, when the Dutch dominated map publishing in Europe. Born in Arnhem, Jan was first exposed to the trade via his father, who was also a bookseller and publisher. In 1612, Jan married the daughter of Jodocus Hondius, who was also a prominent mapmaker and seller. Jonssonius’ first maps date from 1616.

In the 1630s, Janssonius worked with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius. Their most successful venture was to reissue the Mercator-Hondius atlas. Jodocus Hondius had acquired the plates to the Mercator atlas, first published in 1595, and added 36 additional maps. After Hondius died in 1612, Henricus took over publication; Janssonius joined the venture in 1633. Eventually, the atlas was renamed the Atlas Novus and then the Atlas Major, by which time it had expanded to eleven volumes. Janssonius is also well known for his volume of English county maps, published in 1646.

Janssonius died in Amsterdam in 1664. His son-in-law, Johannes van Waesbergen, took over his business. Eventually, many of Janssonius’ plates were sold to Gerard Valck and Pieter Schenk, who added their names and continued to reissue the maps.