De Laet Map of Florida: 1630
Dutch West Indies Company
De Laet Florida
De Laet Florida De Laet Florida
De Laet Florida
De Laet Florida
Joannes de Laet (1593-1649) (editor)
Hessel Gerritsz (1580/81-1632) (cartographer and probably engraver)
Florida, et Regiones Vincinae [Florida and Vicinity]
from Beschrijvinghe van West-Indiën
Leiden: 1630
Hand-colored engraving
12 x 14.75 inches, overall
11 x 14 inches, plate mark
$5,800

An early 17th-century, historically important and influential map of Florida.  Land masses are outlined in pink, blue, yellow.  The title of the map is within a mannerist cartouche in the upper right corner; a compass rose with fleur-de-lis north pointer is in the “Golfo de Nova España” [Gulf of New Spain]. The Florida peninsula is labeled “Tegesta,” a name for the peninsula that replaced “Florida” in cartography for the first time in this map, and continued in use for the next 200 years (Ehrenberg).

Scholar Ralph E. Ehrenberg, in an online article entitled “’Marvellous countries and lands’: Notable Maps of Florida, 1507-1846” describes this map as follows:

Dutch cartographers Johannes de Laet and Hessel Gerritzoon produced a new image of Florida in 1630, one that combined the Spanish and French models...Their map, entitled Florida, et Regiones Vicinae (Leiden, 1630), reflected the latest European concept of Florida. In the interior region of the South, the complex but more accurate river system of the Chaves-Ortelius model has been replaced by two major fan-shaped river systems radiating from the Gulf of Mexico. One is centered on the Bahía del Spíritu Santo, the other on an unnamed bay located at present Apalachee Bay. Five to six rivers flow into each bay. For this information, the cartographers drew upon Garcilaso de la Vega's account of the de Soto expedition, which was not published until 1605.

Joannes de Laet and Hessel Gerritsz were director and chief cartographer, respectively, of the Dutch West Indies Company, giving them access to up-to-date geographical information. The Dutch West Indies Company had been established in 1621.  In 1625, de Laet published his initial version of Beschrijvinghe van West-Indiën to encourage trade and the establishment of colonies in North and South America.  The work met with enough success to be expanded and republished in 1630; it included maps as well as botanical, zoological and ethnographic illustrations and descriptions.  Latin and French translations followed in 1633 and 1640 respectively. Gerritsz contributed the maps.  He had previously worked for Willem Blaeu before becoming chief cartographer for the Dutch East Indies Company in 1617 and producing charts of the South Pacific for them. Gerritsz undertook a voyage to Brazil and the Caribbean in 1628-29 to see the New World for himself, unusual for a cartographer of that era.  For the charts of Florida published in the1630 edition, he made use of French and Spanish sources.  His work served as a model for later 17th-century maps produced by Blaeu, Janssonius and Sanson.

Condition: Generally very good, with the usual overall light toning, wear, soft creases.  Laid paper.  Vertical center fold as issued.  Minor skinning to paper verso.  Left and right sides professionally remargined.

References:

Burden, Philip D. The Mapping of North America. A List of Printed Maps 1511-1670.  Rickmansworth, UK: Raleigh Publications, 1996.  p. 232.

Cumming, William P. The Southeast in Early Maps.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.   pp. 140-41.

Ehrenberg, Ralph E.  “’Marvelous Countries and Lands’: Notable Maps of Florida, 1507-1846.”  Broward County Libraries. http://www.broward.org/library/bienes/lii14003.htm (14 October 2004).

“Hessel Gerritsz, Florida et regiones vicinae.”  Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique. http://www.kbr.be/america/fr/fr27.htm (14 October 2004).

“Joannes de Laet. L’histoire du Nouveau Monde...”  St. John’s College.  http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/library/special_collections/early_books/pix/Laet.htm (14 October 2004).


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