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.
Ehrenberg, Ralph E. “’Marvelous Countries and Lands’: Notable Maps of Florida, 1507-1846.” Broward County Libraries. (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).