MERCATOR, Gerhard (1512-1594). Virginiae Item et Floridae Americae Provinciarum, nova Descriptio. [Amsterdam]: [Jodocus Hondius/Joannes Janssonius], [1636 or 1638].

$ 9,000.00

Single sheet, (19 ½ x 22 ¾ inches). Fine engraved map with original hand color in full, with a large cartouche depicting Indian villages and an elaborate compass rose (one or two marginal spots and creases).

Later Latin edition, first published in 1606. With signature mark “Ssss” on the verso, indicating a publication date of either 1636 or 1638 according to Koemann. “The most important type map of the region until the Ogilby-Moxon ‘Discription of Carolina’ ca. 1672; and its influence, both direct and indirect, extends into the middle of the eighteenth century” (Cumming, Southeast, 26). “It is a composite largely of John White’s Virginia and Jacques le Moyne’s Florida as interpreted by Theodore de Bry in 1590 and 1591, respectively. ‘Chesepioock Sinus’ representing Chesapeake Bay is still shown in its White delineation. At the end of this year, 1606, a party of Englishmen left England to begin arguably the most important colonization of North America in this very bay, at Jamestown. Within just a few years the entire region would be completely revised cartographically. The area south towards ‘C.S.Romano Hispanis’ is entirely drawn from White. It is, however, given too much latitude, extending as fa as 32 ½ °, some 2° too far. ‘S.Augustine,’ however, is shown at the correct latitude. The combined effect is a compacted coastline for the present day States of Georgia and South Carolina.

“The area of French ‘Floridae’ originally comes from de Bry’s map ‘Floridae Americae Provinciae’ of 1591. Here a new interpretation of the cartography had made this map notable; however, the author has noted that it actually first appeared on the wall map of America by Cornelis Claesz, c. 1602. The new rendition of le Moyne’s geography is caused by the great lake which is moved from central Florida north so that the ‘R.de May’ (St. John’s River) now flows in a south-easterly direction. It was probably encouraged by the depiction on a number of maps of a similarly flowing large R.Secco like that on the ‘FLORIDA et APALCHE,’ by Cornelis Wytfliet of 1597. Its influence was considerable. Taken up by Hondius, this error was popularized by the major success of his atlas and lasted for some seventy years. According to Cumming some placenames appear from other sources, namely that of Jean Ribaut. In the ‘Apalatcy’ Mountains reference are made to the presence of both gold and silver. The map is embellished with various game including a wild turkey. Examples of Indian villages in Florida and Virginia appear in cartouches either side of the title. The map’s scale and decorativeness make it very sought after...With the 1634 edition Joannes Janssonius became involved in the publication. The 1636 edition is the first occurrence of the map in the new ‘Atlas Novus’ issued to replace the old Mercator one” (Burden, pp. 184-185). Burden 151. Cumming 26.

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