Americae sive Indiae Occidentalis Tabula Generalis


“The best west coast delineation to date.” [Philip Burden]

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A high-resolution image is available for purchase. Email me for inquiries.

This fantastic map of the Western Hemisphere is a cornerstone in the cartography of the Americas from the perspective of European colonizers. It depicts a surprisingly accurate outline of North and South America, including the coast of Africa and a number of islands across the Pacific.

The image eschews many of the traditional contemporary cartographic myths for more concrete geographic information. California is depicted as a peninsula, the debate over the Northwest Passage is largely avoided, and speculation on the existence of a southern continent is totally absent.

The map was published in Leiden in 1630 as part of Johannes de Laet’s Nieuwe Wereldt often Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien (Description of the West Indies). The work was originally issued in 1625 and contained ten maps – this is from the slightly updated version that contained fourteen maps and an additional 100 pages of text, reflecting the increased interest of the Dutch in the New World.

Described by Philip Burden as “arguably the finest description of the Americas published during the seventeenth century,” the maps in de Laet’s work were based directly off the cartography of Hessel Gerritsz, considered by some to be the foremost mapmaker of the Dutch Golden Age of Cartography. Gerritsz was the exclusive cartographer for the Dutch East India Company and had access to some of the most up-to-date information available. His maps are generally only available in manuscript form and those published by de Laet are some of the few available to collectors today.

Johannes de Laet was no slouch, either, and he used meticulous research and contemporary sources when compiling his geographic data. As a director of the newly formed Dutch West India Company, the latest information from private correspondence, manuscripts, and other company secrets would have also been made available when compiling the maps.

Shirley (BL Atlases) G.LAET-1b, Burden #229

Map Details

Publication Date: 1630

Author: Johannes de Laet

Sheet Width (in): 16.50

Sheet Height (in): 13.60

Condition: B

Condition Description: Numerous areas affected by worming have been professionally restored with reconstructed image. Most evident along the centerfold in North America and in the lower right margin. Only a few areas required reconstitution, and overall the map remains in good condition. A crisp impression on a full sheet.


1 in stock