Leen Helmink Antique Maps

New Netherlands, New England by Blaeu

Cartographer

Blaeu

Title

Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova

Published

Amsterdam, 1635

Size

38.5 x 50.5 cms

Technique

Copper engraving

Stock number

17001

Condition

mint

Price

$ 3500

Description

"This most important map was one of the most attractive of the Americas at the time. It is noted for the fact that its primary source is the first manuscript figurative map of Adriaen Block, 1614. Indeed it is the first full representation in print. It is one of the earliest to name 'Nieu Amsterdam'. Block, a Dutch fur trader, explored the area between Cape Cod and Manhattan, examining the bays and rivers along the way. This helped to create an accurate picture of the longitudinal scale of the coastline. His manuscript map is the first to delineate an insular Manhattan; it also provides the earliest appearance of 'Manhates' and 'Niev Nederlandt'.

It has been noted that the time difference between 1614, the date of the manuscript, and Blaeu's map whose first appearance is in 1635, appears long for such an important advance. It would seem highly feasible that Blaeu, who published many separately issued maps, would have wanted to produce one like this sooner. However, evidence points to the fact that it could not have been made before 1630. The Stokes collection in New York possesses an example of the map on thicker paper without text on the reverse which could well be a proof issue of some kind.

There are features on Blaeu's map that differ from the Block chart. Some of these could be accounted for by the fact that the surviving figurative map is not original, and that the copiest omitted some placenames that are referred to in the text of de Laet's work. Block drew on Chaimplain's map of 1612 for the depiction of the lake named after him, but it is here called 'Lacus Irocoisiensis'. Blaeu does not appear to have updated this part of his map. The lack of interrelation between the Dutch or English colonies and the French, led for some time to the eastward displacement of this lake when its true position would be north of the Hudson River. Some nomenclature has its origins in Blaeu's second 'Paskaert' of c.1630, and others, such as 'Manhatthans', in de Laet. The colony of 'Nieu Pleimonth' is identified. This and other English names along this part of the coast are largely derived from Smith's 'New England', 1616.

Cape Cod is here improved over the Block manuscript by being reconnected to the mainland, the narrow strait having been removed. The coastline between here and Narragansett Bay, which can be clearly recognised, is not so accurate. 'Adriaen Blocx Eylandt' leads us to the 'Versche Rivier', or Connecticut River, which Block ascended as far as possible. 't Lange Eyland' is named; however, it is incorrectly too far east, being applied to what is possibly Fishers Island. 'De Groote bay' marks Long Island Sound. The Hudson River is still notnamed as such, but is littered with Dutch settlements, and the failed Fort Nassau is here depicted renamed as 'Fort Orange'. He does, however, improve on the direction of its flow. Blaeu separates the sources of the Hudson and Delaware Rivers which had been causing some confusion. 'Nieu Amsterdam' is correctly marked as a fort at the tip of an island separated on the east side by 'Hellegat', or the East River. The coastline south of Sandy Hook also shows signs of improvement.

The whole map is adorned by deer, foxes, bears, egrets, rabbits, cranes and turkeys. Beavers, polecats and otters appear on a printed map for the first time. The Mohawk Indian village top right is derived from the de Bry-White engravings.

The map survived through the remaining publishing history of the Blaeu house. Willem Blaeu himself died in 1638, and the business passed to his sons, Cornelis and Joan. The latter, particularly, carried the family name and was the driving force behind the multi-volume 'Atlas Major'. On 23 February 1672 a fire at the firm destroyed its cartographic production. Some plates were dispersed at auction but this map is not known to have been reissued."

(Burden).

"Oriented west to the top of the plate, this beautiful map of New England and the New Netherlands is one of the earliest detailed maps to include that part of North America colonised by the Dutch, and is the first printed map showing Indian canoes and several Noth American fauna such as turkeys, beavers, polecats and otters.

First produced by Willem Blaeu in 1635, it exercised considerable influence for many years. The geograpgical details were derived mostly from a manuscript map of the region drawn in 1614 by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Blockx (now in the Algemeen Rijksarchief at 's-Gravenhage), and from a map in Johannes de Laet's 'Nieuwe Wereldt' of 1630.

Blockx, a fur trader as well as an explorer, first arrived in North America in 1611 and set out on a coasting voyage in 1614. His ship, 'Onrust', was the first boat built on Manhattan Island. He sailed through the 'Hellegat' (East River) into 'De Groote Bay' (Long Island Sound) exploring the shores and noting the locations of the various tribes of Indians, such as the 'Manhattans', 'Morhicans', 'Pequatoos' and others. Note also the illustrations of pallisaded Indian villages, dug-out canoes and the male and female figures decorating the title cartouche.

Adriaen Blockx himself is commemorated by 'Adriaen Blocx Eylandt', nowadays known as Block Island, off the Rhode Island shore."

(Goss).

"West is at the top in this beautiful, highly prized map.
It is perhaps the earliest map to show both New England and the Dutch part of the region. It includes many very early depictions of native fauna, including wild turkey. It indicates the lands of several Indian tribes, such as the Manhattans.

Based on a manuscript map by Adriaen Blockx (after whom Block's Island is named), this was an important map for many years and influenced later maps in no small degree.

Note the misplaced Lake Champlain, and compare its location here to where it was put in a much later map by Homann [...].

There are Indian towns, surrounded by stockades and Indian boats.

There is text on the verso of most examples, and because of the large open areas of water, the map commonly has some degree of show-through."

(Manasek)