Amerique Septentrionale


The colonial New World featuring a number of prominent cartographic myths.

1 in stock

High-Resolution Images Are Available for Purchase HERE. Please email me with any questions or inquiries.

This rare map of North America shows the fascinating status of contemporary European geographic knowledge of the New World during the mid to late 17th century. Central America, the Caribbean, and East Coast are relatively well-mapped due to their longtime colonial population.

Ongoing exploration in the Arctic Circle has yet to produce the elusive Northwest Passage, though at least one hopeful outlet remains in Button’s Bay. Immediately south can be seen the Great Lakes in a recognizable, albeit embryonic form, though the connection to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River has yet to materialize.

The Southwest includes references to mythical cities of gold, a mistaken Rio del Norte (Rio Grande), and the iconic depiction of California as an island. The Pacific Northwest was also largely unknown at the time, though uncertainty has been replaced by a large, decorative Baroque cartouche (note the cannibal scene to the left).

This technique was promoted by Nicholas Sanson, royal cartographer to Louis XIV of France (the Sun King), and his successors. Sanson is considered to be the ‘Father of French cartography’ and helped to introduce a quantitative approach to mapmaking that favored research and scientific observation over conventional historic norms.

The image is based largely on his monumental 1666 wall map of North America (of which only 2 copies survive), though this example was published by his son, Guillaume, in Paris in 1669. This is the first of two known states, the second of which was printed in 1690.

Source: Burden 404

Map Details

Publication Date: 1669

Author: Guillaume Sanson

Sheet Width (in): 23.30

Sheet Height (in): 17.6

Condition: B

Condition Description: Scattered discoloration, smudging, and soiling is visible in several areas throughout the image, notably in the lower left corner and cartouche. Similar wear extends into the margins, with two dark spots at the top of the sheet. Light creasing along the vertical centerfold and in the upper right corner. Despite the defects, the map remains in good condition, featuring attractive hand color on a strong, watermarked sheet.


1 in stock