A once-in-a-lifetime addition to a collection: the sole known example of this quartet of globe gores, printed in 1623 by Jodocus Hondius II and Jan Jansson for the construction of their 17-inch globe. These four globe gores cover all of North America. The only known copies of these loose gores, they represent a remarkable survival and present unique geographical data. This is the earliest acquirable depiction of North America to show a specific Great Lake based on actual report, and features a unique depiction of the Saint Lawrence River. It contains a remarkable delineation of the American Southwest, with a correct depiction of its rivers not typical for Dutch maps of the period. Such features can be ascribed to the globe being a new work by Jodocus Hondius II and his brother-in-law Jansson, rather than derivative of the elder Hondius, or indeed any other acquirable work of his or their own.
Virginia and the Chesapeake
Details can be recognized from John White's 1590 Americae Pars, Nunc Virginia Dicta
, the first map to detail any part of North America produced by an actual colonist. Trinity Harbor, Hatorask, Paquinoc and Croatan and the coastline around them, are drawn from that source, in the slightly protuberant form in which they appeared on the 1606 Hondius America
. North and west of that region, the cartography is quite different and new. The nomenclature indicates that Hondius or Jansson were familiar with the cartographic data from the reports Captain John Smith's 1607-09 exploration of Virginia: the Native American communities Pawtuxsin, Nacontangh, Warawacomoco, Rassawick and Pamunca all can be traced to Smith. Jamestown itself appears as Iacobipolis
. However, the physical delineation of the region, as shown, does not
appear to benefit from Smith's well-known and often-copied 1612 map, but from an earlier iteration of Smith's geography. A remarkably slender Delmarva Peninsula extends towards the southeast, while the area's rivers, including the Potomac, the James, and the Delaware, all trend roughly parallel towards the west. Judging by this, this work was executed prior to the 1618 completion of Hondius' copy of the Smith, if only because the region as mapped bears no relation to the 1612 map. It may be that Hondius had access to a manuscript map copied from one drawn by Smith or one of the other colonists, such as the 1608 de Zúñiga chart (a manuscript revealing the new discoveries, named after Don Pedro de Zúñiga, the Spanish ambassador who sent it to Philip III of Spain.) It is also possible that Jansson or Hondius produced the map based on Smith's 1608 True Relation
without benefit of a map.
The Sea of Verrazano, or A Proto-Great Lake?
On this gore, the Delaware and James (Pamunca) rivers find their source in a cartographically unique inland sea (Lacus Saltus Apalatcius
) whose northern and western shores are left obscure. As presented, the appearance of this body of water represents an earlier depiction of a specific Great Lake on a general map of North America than the 1636 Jansson/Hondius America Septentrionalis
, the map generally accorded the honor. Derived also from John Smith, the identity of this body of water is complicated by the distinction of what Smith thought
he found, and what he actually
A century before the production of these gores, Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed in search of a passage through North America to the Pacific Ocean. While he found nothing he could support with actual exploration, his observations of the barrier islands of the American southeast, the Pamlico Sound, and possibly the Chesapeake Bay, led him to speculate that in places North America was quite narrow, and that in these places only a narrow isthmus separated the Atlantic from the Pacific. Efforts to depict this on maps illustrate a massive body of water plunging into North America from the Pacific nearly to the American mid-Atlantic coastline. This so-called 'Sea of Verrazano' appeared on many 16th century maps and was suggestive of access to the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic. European mapmakers and explorers - in particular, John Smith and Henry Hudson - hung their hopes on discovering the Verrazano Sea, an assumption would color their interpretations of what they actually discovered.
Smith's accounts in the 1608 True Relation
, the Zúñiga chart, his own 1612 Virginia
map, and his 1624 Generall Historie
all agree that only short marches separated the Jamestown colony from large navigable bodies of water to the west and north. Smith reported as much in a 1609 letter to Henry Hudson; Hudson would act on this intelligence, sailing for the 40°parallel and discovering the river that now bears his name. But if it wasn't the sought-after Sea of Verrazano, what actual body of water had Smith learned of, and shared knowledge of with Hudson?
An unnamed body of water appears at the northwestern extreme of Smith's 1612 Virginia
map. On its shore is marked the tribal name Massawomeck
: Smith describes this tribe in his Generall Historie
Beyond the mountains from whence is the head of the River Patawomeke, the Savages report, inhabit their most mortal enemies, the Massawomecks, upon a great salt water, which by all likelihood is either some part of Canada, some great lake, or some inlet of some sea that falleth into the South Sea. These Massawomekes are a great nation and very populous.... from the French (they) have their hatchets and Commodities by trade. (emphases ours)
Although Smith relates violent encounters with a Massawomeck raiding party on the Chesapeake, the Massawomecks were a fur-trapping and trading tribe nearly as new to the Chesapeake region as Smith - their homeland was actually Lake Erie. Thus, the 'Massawomeck' body of saltwater appearing on the 1612 Smith and the Lacus Saltus Apalatcius
shown on this 1623 gore depict the same body of water - Lake Erie - which Smith supposed might be a great lake, or the sea of Verrazzano.
A Monumental St. Lawrence River
The St. Lawrence appears here as an extraordinarily long river, with its mouth accurately mapped in Canada but finding its origins in yet another
Great Lake... this one, in the American Southwest within easy reach of the Gulf of California. The river shows no connection to the Lacus Saltus Apalatcius
or any other lake along its length: there is no Lake Champlain. Thus, it does not appear to derive at all from the Champlain map of 1612. In these respects, it is similar to the 1606 America
, which places the headwaters of a river corresponding to the St. Lawrence in Nova Granada, near the Rio Grande. But on the present gores, the river and its source lake are placed further west than any other known map, apart from Jansson's own 1621 globe (Shirley 308), and the 1597 Rosaccio world map (Shirley 205).
Arctic Canada, Henry Hudson and the Northwest Passage
Greenland, Davis Strait, and James' Bay appear to be drawn faithfully from Hessel Gerritsz' 1612 Tabula nautica
. That chart appeared in Gerritsz account of Hudson's final 1610-11 voyage, based on the report of Abacuck Prickett, one of Hudson's surviving mutineers. A notation reading 'The Baye wher Hudson did winter', refers to that unfortunate explorer's marooning in James Bay. In the North Pacific, an unnamed strait opens between America and Asia at C. Fortuna, bearing a note speculating that this would be the point (according to Hudson) where a journey via the Davis Strait would reach the Pacific.
While it is easy to suppose the strait in question is merely an unnamed Strait of Anian, the speculated northwestern most point of North America, this is not the case. The 1621 Jansson globe shares this feature, and on it Anian is situated two gores further west. On this map, the landmass beyond the strait notes Terra Preta
, C. Hondo
, and C. del Engano
, all of which are on both the elder Hondius' America
and Henry Hondius' America Noviter Delineata
, but are situated well south of Cape Mendocino, thus far to the south of the Strait of Anian. The breach in the American Pacific coast suggested here may well be influenced by access to the Spanish map of Herrera y Tordesillas, perhaps in the form of Colijn's 1622 copy of the map. Although lacking any North Pacific landmasses, the Tordesillas map places C. Fortuna
close to the westernmost reach of North America, a characteristic shared on the present globe gores. This model of the mapping of the Pacific coast would soon be overshadowed by the California-as-an-island apocrypha, which carried with it a new nomenclature. Of note, the northern cut-off point of the Pacific coast as envisaged here is strongly reminiscent of the insular California that would bedevil cartography for the remainder of the 17th century.
South of the White-derived Virginia, the cartography of Florida and the southeast presented here is probably derived from Ortelius' mapping based on that of Chiaves; the names and most of the depicted rivers are largely in agreement with the 1584 Ortelius and the 1597 Wytfliet maps. A 'Rio de Canaveral' appears in the vicinity of Mobile Bay and 'Rio del Santo Spr.o' suggests an early take on the Mississippi. Absent here are the Appalachian lakes appearing on the Le Moyne map (1595) and copied on the Mercator/Hondius map of the southeast. Have they been excised? Have they been transformed into John Smith's Appalachian Salt Sea?
The American Southwest
Carl Wheat, in his landmark work Mapping the Transmississippi West
The Seventeenth Century was almost wholly barren of cartographic progress with respect to the American West. During that period the Island of California concept was introduced and was accepted by most European mapmakers, while the entrance to the Strait of Anian was brought south by some almost, if not quite, to the northern limit of this fictitious island.
Observing the broad survey of that century's work, it would be difficult to say that Wheat was wrong in his assessment, making the present map's cartography in this area all the more remarkable. This area is bounded in the north by the Saint Lawrence River, on the East by the 'Rio del Santo Spr.o', on the west by the 'Mar Vermeio' (the Gulf of California), and on the south by the (astonishingly accurately depicted) Rio Grande and Pecos rivers. The common conflation of the Rio Grande and the Colorado River does not occur here. The correct placement of these rivers is in sharp contrast to Hondius and Jansson's own mapping of this region on their America and world maps, and indeed those of every one of these mapmakers' contemporaries. The 1606 Hondius comes close in its depiction of the Rio Grande, and the 1621 Colijn Hydrographica
seems to. However, the avid interest placed in this part of the world by Spanish explorers and conquerors was accompanied by an equal passion in keeping its treasures secret.
Not only are legendary cities revealed here - Quivira, several contending locations for Cibola, and the sought-after Seven Cities of Gold, the region of 'Tiguas,' which Coronado named 'Tiguex' is also named. The naming of actual Pueblas - Zuni and Acoma - suggests a later source, perhaps the Hakluyt's 1599 report of Antonion de Espejo's 1582 voyage. Nova Mexico is named, but the absence of Santa Fe suggests that the source material for this part of the map dates from prior to that city's 1610 founding. But the richness in detail of this part of this 1623 globe stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the mapmakers' oeuvre and leaves us begging for answers.
The actual execution of these gores was done by the veteran engraver Abraham Goos, whose expertise and artistry are on fine display. Geographical details and text are sharp and clearly legible; coastlines are delicately shaded. The water areas are decorated with fine compass roses, beautifully realized ships, and an array of sea monsters, including mer-men and nymphs frolicking in the Pacific.
Publication History and Census
These gores were engraved by Abraham Goos on behalf of Hondius and Jansson; though these were never mounted they were intended for the 1623 construction of a 17-inch diameter globe. Only four or five completed examples of the globe are known to exist according to van der Krogt, in states dated to 1623, 1636 and 1648. We see no examples of the globe catalogued in OCLC. Only this copy of these separate gores, and the four encompassing Europe and North Africa, have ever appeared on the market.
Very good condition. Cropped close just touching border, few mended tears to western sheet, still overall very good with a strong impression. Measurements given are for each sheet.
Van der Krogt, P. Globi Neerlandici, HON VI, pp. 484-486.