Florida, et Regiones Vicinae


Foundational map of the southeastern United States.

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This incredible map of the southeastern United States covers a large portion of the Gulf of Mexico (labeled here as the Gulf of New Spain) all the way to England’s colony of Virginia on the Atlantic seaboard. The depicted cartography attempts to synthesize two earlier important depictions of the region by Ortelius (1584) and Mercator (1606) – largely due to a lack of newly available source material.

What appears to be the Mississippi River (though this is debated) is shown as a connected network of smaller rivers leading to the Bahia del Spiritu Santu. Toponyms reflect a variety of European settlements, indigenous villages, and geographic features. Of notable interest are the pictorial ‘Apalaty’ Mountains adjacent to the mythical Lacus Magnus. Havana, Tampa Bay, St. Augustine, Port Royal, and the Tegesta Province are also labeled. The last, referring to the peninsula of Florida, is one of the earliest such mentions on a printed map.

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. As such, de Laet’s map of the Florida region was tremendously influential and would affect subsequent cartographic efforts by Blaeu, Jansonnonius, Sanson, and others.

Sources: Shirley (BL Atlases) G.LAET-1b, Burden 232, Cumming 34, Library of Congress

Map Details

Publication Date: 1630

Author: Johannes de Laet

Sheet Width (in): 16.50

Sheet Height (in): 13.60

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Several spots of worming can be seen in the margins, with a small area in the image just below 'Noordt' at the top of the page professionally repaired. The lower right corner has also been restored, though the repair does not enter the neatline. Two small offsetting damp stains in the center of the image. Good to very good overall.


1 in stock