Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova


Blaeu’s important (and picturesque) map of early colonial New England.

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This seminal map in early North American cartography is based on a manuscript map drafted by Dutch fur trader (and privateer), Adrian Block. Between 1611 and 1614, Block undertook four voyages exploring the coastal regions between Cape Cod and Massachusetts and, among other things, was the first European to conclude that Manhattan was an island.

That discovery is one of many several regional cartographic advancements shown on this map, oriented with north at the right and issued by the important Dutch cartographer Willem Janszoon Blaeu in Amsterdam around 1644. At the time of publication, European colonial efforts in the New World were at a frenzy. Territorial claims of New Netherlands, New England, and New France are all depicted in original hand color; with the British colony centered around the settlement at Plymouth and the Dutch in New Amsterdam (shown adjacent to Manhattan Island). This map is one of the earliest to depict the area of North America settled by the Dutch.

Despite the increasing number of white colonists settling the region, the visual emphasis of the image is on the indigenous population and native animal life. The map is one of the first to show a printed depiction of a beaver and an otter, and also includes vignettes of deer, bears, cranes, egrets, turkeys and foxes. Native American figures are shown paddling in dugout canoes (also a first for a printed map) and flank either side of the title cartouche. In the upper right is an illustration of a Mohawk Indian village, taken directly from an earlier engraving by Theodore de Bry.

The map was first published as a separate plate by Blaeu in 1535 (perhaps reflecting his commercial desire to get the map to market, rather than wait for an entire atlas to be ready) and was subsequently included in a number of atlases in several different languages, though only in one state.

This particular example is from the Latin edition of the Atlas Novus, published between 1644 and 1655. Latin text on verso, and accompanying the map is a separate leaf from the atlas containing text about the region. It covers a wide array of fascinating details, from the explorations of Champlain to the location of the rich coastal cod banks.

References: Burden, P., The Mapping of America: A List of Printed Maps, 1151-1670, 241. Schwartz & Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America, pl. 58

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1644

Author: Willem Janszoon Blaeu

Sheet Width (in): 23

Sheet Height (in): 19.9

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Some toning to the paper and a few small spots of foxing in the margins. Two small circular stains immediately below the title cartouche. A fine example with original hand color.


1 in stock