Louvain: Cornelis van Wytfliet, 1597.
Map. Copper-plate engraving. Image measures 11.25" x 9.25".
This important 1597 map is from the first atlas of the New World by Cornelis van Wytfliet. The atlas contains some of the first printed maps of the New World as well as a history of the voyages of Columbus, Pizarro, Verrazano and other explorers. This map depicts the East Coast of the North America from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the Canada. The map is only the second map to use 'Virginia' as part of its title and was the most accurate map of the region until Joannes de Laet published his 1630 map 'Nova Anglia, Novvm Belgivm Et Virginia'. At the time, the name 'Virginia' referred to the entire Mid-Atlantic region. The map shows the early knowledge of the region (or lack thereof) just prior to the English voyages of discovery and settlement. Long Island and Cape Cod, two of the most prominent geographical features of the region are missing from the map, so is Hudson River. Because of the notoriously perilous waters around New England and Cape Cod and the Carolina Outer Banks, the regions between Nova Scotia and Virginia were usually avoided and hence poorly mapped.
Other anomalies follow some inaccuracies from earlier maps, resulting in the entire coastline pushed northward by about 5 degrees. Chesapeake Bay appears too far north of its actual position, near present day southern Maine. What could be Cape Hatteras appears here as C. de las arenas also placed further north.
The most fascinating highlight of the map is the name Norumbega which appears on the map. This name appeared on several maps as the name for Northeastern America until John Smith's 1614 map noted the territory as New England. The mythical city at the head of the Penobscot Bay, believed to be an American Indian fur trading city, also named Norumbega is identified. Several legends about the city of Norumbega have been recorded. Some accounts suggest the existence of the French trading fort at the site, while others state that it was a place of great wealth. Some accounts also claim that the name was derived from 'Norvegr' suggesting that it was a Viking city, hence linking it to early Viking settlements in North America. Regardless of the truth, this map is a exceptional example of the early mapping of the region.
This is the first state of the map, identified by the left side latitudinal mark reading 30 instead of 39 and, and dated 1597. A beautifully engraved compass rose adorns the map.
The map is in very good condition with minor toning overall and some wear to the original centerfold. Abrasion to border in between 42 and 43 degrees on the center left margin.
Cornelius Wytfliet (1555--1597) was a Belgian cartographer who dedicated his work to Philip III of Spain. His 'Descriptionis Ptolemaicae augmentum', where this map is from, provided a systematic description of the the Americas. He used the writings of both historians and contemporary geographers to render the geography natural history, and European discovery of the Americas. This map is a fine example of his work. Burden 103 State 1. This map in its first state is fundamental in the history of the mapping of the East Coast of North America.